C's Down Dallas without KG
The Celtics had a ready-made excuse for not getting it done when they took the court against Dallas last night. Without Kevin Garnett to provide his usual set of skills - and to deal with Dirk Nowitzki - the C's were at a clear disadvantage.
But Doc Rivers wasn't giving his club the easy way out.
``When we show up, we show up to win,'' the coach said. ``That's it. The other night in Miami (a 117-87 triumph Tuesday without Garnett and Ray Allen), we felt we were going to win before the game. Everyone else thought that we were going to feel sorry for ourselves and worry about injuries. It's just not who we're going to be. We pay everybody.''
Rivers did acknowledge that the Celts would dearly miss Garnett.
``He probably guards Dirk as well as anybody, and we're not going to have that,'' he said, ``so the team has to guard Dirk and do a better job.''
To some, that might take away from what was expected to be a good measuring stick for the Celtics. The Mavericks came in with four straight wins and a 31-13 mark.
``We use every night when you think about it,'' Rivers said. ``Dallas is a terrific team. We look at Dallas, San Antonio and Detroit as the three teams that have gone through everything that you can go through. Cleveland is added in that, as well. Those are the only teams over the last few years that have gone to the Finals.
``So we're not Dallas. Dallas has gone through more stuff than we could ever go through in one year. That's something we're never going to make up in one year, and we understand that. They have a huge advantage over us in experience. They've been through stuff. They've been through turmoil.''
Allen said before last night's game that he was still not right after missing Tuesday with the flu.
``I'm still coming down from it,'' said Allen, who went to the hospital in Miami to get fluids. ``From a strength perspective, I'm better, but obviously I haven't done much.''
The same could not be said about Allen after the first quarter. All the sick guy did was hit 6-of-7 shots from the field and score 15 points to lead the Celts to a 27-20 edge.
Allen took a nice pass from Paul Pierce and hit a layup on the C's first possession. He missed his second shot but canned his last five in the frame.
He had 10 of the Celts' first 14 points as the Mavericks took an 18-14 lead. But then the Celts bench picked up things. James Posey came in and bagged a pair of 3-pointers, and Eddie House hit a jumper to start a 13-2 sprint to the period's finish.
It was no surprise that Allen finished things off with a 3 and a jumper from the left.
Allen had seven points in the second quarter, but the rest of the team had just 10. The Celtics offense slowed considerably under 6-of-17 shooting.
And after holding the Mavericks to 26.3 percent shooting from the floor in the first period (5-of-19), the visitors hit 10-of-17 in the second to pull even at the half, 44-44.
Nowitzki got on the board with seven points in the new quarter, and Josh Howard completed a 17-point half. The latter also helped hold Pierce to four points on 1-of-6 shooting.