Three Losses No Biggie for C's


Three Losses No Biggie for C's

PHOENIX - The Celtics' losing streak continued to grow yesterday, and they paid with a practice. Upon arriving at U.S. Airways Arena for a scheduled workout, Doc Rivers told his players they could have the day off if all of them could beat him in a one-length race down the court. The result? ``I beat half of those (guys),'' Rivers said. ``Uh, you noticed we did have practice?''

The coach got a slight advantage in that he was allowed to just take off unannounced. ``I know I got a step, and I figure I can beat one of them,'' he said. ``I'm no fool. Coaches don't make bets they can lose. The only thing I was worried about was the hamstring.''

The reaction?

``Oh, they were (upset),'' Rivers said. ``They were laughing, but they were yelling at the guys I beat.'' In other words, the Celtics dealt with their first three-game losing streak of the season with a brief workout and some good humor before flying off to Portland for tonight's game.

``We lost three games,'' said Rivers. ``It ain't no big deal. It really isn't. You don't want to lose three games, but nobody died. We're a confident team. The season has ebbs and flows. We knew that coming into it.

``The first two games on the trip we played horrible even though they were close games. (Friday) night, besides missing wide-open shots and just being inefficient offensively with our passing, it was more like we play.''

If there is any encouragement after losing the first three games on the trip, it is that the Celts seem to be handling the situation well. They are not weighed down by the expectation that now greets them at every stop.

``No, because we built that,'' said Kevin Garnett. ``That wasn't something that you guys gave us. It wasn't something we went to the store and bought. It wasn't like we went online and got it. It was something that we obtained, man.

``So we've been through some difficult times these last couple of days, but everything we've grown to be this year is not hype. Hype is a level of promotion in which you're trying to sell something. And we're not selling this. This is what it is. We've created our record. The record didn't create us. . . . That's what it is, and we understand that. It's no added pressure whatsoever.''

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