Artest a Real Load in Pacers' Win

The Celtics have opened the 2004-05 season with two close losses at home. Last night, they dropped a 100-94 decision to the Indiana Pacers, which went much like the 98-95 loss to Philadelphia Wednesday night.

Against the 76ers, the Celtics scored only 12 points in the final quarter. Last night, the Celtics entered the fourth quarter tied with the Pacers at 68, but Indiana made the big plays at the end. Either the Green are making too many mistakes or they aren't playing a full 48 minutes. Take your pick.

   "It's going to take some time for the team to come together, but hopefully we won't take too much time," said Celtics forward Walter McCarty, who had a difficult evening, shooting 1 of 5 for 2 points in 15 minutes off the bench. "We've played two really good teams, and the reason we lost is that we've beaten ourselves. Losing when you beat yourself against two of the best in the league is not a bad thing. We just need to get ready for [tonight] against the Knicks [in New York]. We need to stay focused for four quarters."

Celtics point guard Gary Payton played well, with 14 points and 10 assists in 38 minutes, but the Celtics were outscored, 32-26, in the final quarter.

"We've been playing great the first three quarters, then slowing up for the fourth quarter," Payton said. "We've stopped playing in the fourth two times in a row. We've got to stop arguing with the [officials] for calls and play. Look at Indiana, they played and played and played.

"The only real negative so far is that we're losing on our home court. We should never do that. The best thing we can do now is come out and win in New York. If we play four quarters instead of three, we'll be fine. We have a lot of young guys on this team who have to understand that we can't play 40 or 44 minutes. We have to play 48. We've got to understand that.

"It's going to take some time to get this young team together, but I don't want to lose too many games doing it. And, we can't keep losing home games. We have to put a whole game together."

Meanwhile, forward Ron Artest got the job done for the Pacers, who are 2-0 on the season. He has been nursing a sore knee, but that didn't stop him from scoring 28 points and earning the praise of his coach.

"He was a load out there," said Rick Carlisle. "He's really tough to deal with. He did a good job of picking his spots. He always plays Paul Pierce tough. He's one of the really terrific one-on-one players in the league, and he keeps getting better and better without the ball, too. One of the keys to beating Boston is you've got to be able to outrebound them" - and the Pacers did, by a wide margin (52-31) - "and I thought we did a good job on the boards.

"I'm never surprised at the good things that can happen when you're a team that sticks together, plays hard, and plays unselfish, and commits at the defensive end. That's what the first two games [including a double-overtime win over Cleveland Wednesday] have been about for us."

No comments:

Follow by Email