C's Focus on Rebound


C's Focus on Rebound

If history is any guide, the Celtics have to feel pretty good about their chances at New Jersey tonight as they come off Wednesday's loss to Charlotte.

In their three previous games following defeats, the crew of counterpunchers has won by an average of 31 points - beating Golden State by 23, New York by 45 and Chicago by 25. Yes, all three games were at home, but the Celts also can take heart in the fact that Ray Allen and Glen Davis will be back in the lineup tonight.

``I woke up. How about that?'' coach Doc Rivers said of the aftermath to the Bobcats loss. ``And the building didn't fall down. Wow.''

Speaking of the general feeling around the team after a defeat, Rivers said, ``They respond to about everything right now. They want to be good. When we do lose a game, they don't like losing. It's no fun. I experienced that a lot last year. I could write a whole speech about how that feels.

``It's a good bad feeling, if you know what I mean. You can see them walking out of the locker room (Wednesday night). You can see them this morning quiet. Nobody was goofing around.''

Certainly not Allen or Davis, who sat out Wednesday's loss with a pinched nerve in the neck and a sore right knee, respectively.

``I feel significantly better,'' said Allen, who has experienced numbness in three fingers on his right hand. ``It's hard to say not being in a game situation, but for practice, I feel pretty good. It's a day-to-day thing. I would say (the numbness) is about 80 percent gone. I feel it with certain movements, but I slept better than I have over the last two days.''

Davis was breathing hard after his post-practice workout.

``It's sore,'' the rookie said of his knee, which he injured in a fall against the Pistons Saturday.

``I've got to play through it. You can't play the whole season healthy.''

And the Celtics aren't going to play the whole season without some nasty-looking losses. Their failure to get back and play cohesive defense doomed them against Charlotte, but it made for an easy lesson plan yesterday.

Topic No. 1 was transition defense. ``The first 20 minutes of practice sucked like the game,'' Rivers said. ``It really did. We were awful. Guys weren't communicating. Guys were what we call buddy running - running with their own guy instead of getting back. You know, it's a long season and you fall into habits, you have slippage. Then the second half of practice was terrific. We got back to what we've done. ``I think if we have a chance to play defense we're really good if we can set. Teams know. If they can beat us down the floor, they don't have to face our defense. Charlotte did that.''

The club didn't spend a lot of time going over the Nets, something it will instead do at this morning's shootaround.

``I believe, fix your stuff first and then worry about the other stuff,'' Rivers said.

Celtics notes

Scot Pollard sat out practice to rest his left ankle, the same one he sprained late in the offseason. The big man is expected to play tonight. . . . Forward Kevin Garnett remained the overall leader in the fourth and final All-Star voting update before the starters are announced Jan. 24. With 1,756,251 votes, Garnett is about 200,000 ahead of Cleveland's LeBron James for the Feb. 17 game.

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