Celtics Give Up 21 Offensive Boards in Loss


WASHINGTON - It's no coincidence that when the Celtics fail to keep pace with opponents on the glass, they lose. Last night's game against the Wizards at the MCI Center was no exception. Washington outrebounded Boston, 50-43, and won, 110-105, in overtime. Most discouraging was the fact the Wizards pulled down 21 offensive rebounds, which explains why they scored 27 second-chance points.

"I thought Washington was more physical," said coach Doc Rivers. "They attacked us more. At the end of the day, if you give up 21 offensive rebounds, you shouldn't win the basketball game. But giving up that many offensive rebounds we still had plenty of opportunities to win the game."

   After the Celtics failed to attack the glass in their first two games, they made a concerted effort to rebound, and saw the benefits. Last night's performance clearly marked a step back.

"Rebounding has been the reason we've given up points more than anything," said Rivers. "If you look at the first two games, we didn't rebound. If we were just an average team rebounding, we would have won those two games, at least one of them. That's the first area we have improved, and we have a long way to go in that."

Upside to LA story

Any mention of the Lakers, Phil Jackson, and Gary Payton in the same paragraph, never mind the same sentence, garners attention, no matter how innocuous the utterance. Such was the case prior to last night's game when Rivers discussed how a year with the Lakers likely benefited Payton, despite all the dysfunction during the team's 2003-04 season and the triangle offense that never suited the veteran point guard.

"In a crazy way, maybe that whole situation with the Lakers helped him," said Rivers. "I don't know how, but I think when an athlete goes through a negative situation like that, I don't ever think it hurts you as a player. I think it's another system that you learn or try to learn. You find out areas that you don't want to put yourself in offensively and defensively. I don't think that hurt his game. That whole experience probably helped him. It probably helped him in the locker room."

On waiting list

Kendrick Perkins thought he might finally earn some significant minutes this season, after spending much of his rookie year watching from the bench. But the 20-year-old big man entered last night's game averaging 2 points and 2 rebounds in 5.5 minutes per game and against the Wizards played just three minutes, scoring 2 points and grabbing one rebound. The youngster who has found a regular spot in the rotation has been rookie Al Jefferson. "I've just got to continue working every day," said Perkins. "Sooner or later I'll get my chance and when I get my time, I've got to be ready. I really haven't been told what I need to do to get on the court because I haven't asked. But I've never been the type of player to go up to a coach and ask him what I need to do on the court. I'm the type of player where either you're going to play me or you're not. I'm just going to come to work every day and continue to improve." . . . Raef LaFrentz fouled out with 3:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. Mark Blount followed him to the bench with six personals with two minutes left in overtime . . . Jared Jeffries scored a career-high 15 points for Washington . . . Rivers's oldest son, Jeremiah, a standout basketball player, was in town for an unofficial visit to Georgetown.

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