“We’ve got to establish him more,’’ Rivers said of Garnett. “We’ve got to get bodies off him. They’re putting bodies on him, knocking him around, and we’ve got to do a better job as a staff, we’ve got to get bodies off of him and give him some room.
“Our spacing is horrendous. Clearly, without Ray, they’re using both guards to just sit in the paint. And we have to do a better job of creating space. It’s tough when you have two guards they’re just not guarding. And that makes the difference for Kevin.’’
“We just need a scorer. We need to space the floor. They’re killing us with their help. They’ve just decided that without Ray on the floor, we’re going to swarm everyone and you’re going to have to find someone, and it’s hard.’’
Ray Allen is the obvious solution to floor spacing, but we'll get to him later. Mickael Pietrus is another potential solution.
How bad has Pietrus been this series? ESPN's Chris Forsberg says he's missed all five shots he's taken (all 3-pointers) and has more fouls (6) and turnovers (2) than points (0).
Pietrus started to make a defensive impact in the 2nd half of Game 2. And while it's more important for him to smother Joe Johnson than to make 3s, the Celtics need something from Mickael on offense.
The same goes for Avery Bradley. His shooting improved from Game 1 (4-12 FG) to Game 2 (4-8 FG). We'll need more.
Is it me, or has the Celtics pick-and-pop offense disappeared in this series? I haven't seen the usual number of Brandon Bass and KG (open) jumpers. Guess we have to credit the Hawks.
Related link: Herald – Pietrus shooting for bigger contribution
On Page 2, how will Ray Allen's ankle feel when it hits the floor this morning?
Allen recently revealed that he has bone spurs in the right ankle. He said swelling in the ankle area makes the bone spurs more active and, thus, puts his pain threshold to the test in ways that have kept him sidelined.
That's why Allen's demeanor on Thursday, while upbeat, had more to do with how he was feeling at the moment than it did the possibility that he might play on Friday.
"I've tried to read my body as best I can," Allen said. "The last couple days, I've been in a really good place."
When asked about playing in Game 3, a grinning Allen said, "I'm optimistic first; period. I deal with the days as they come. If I'm sitting here [Friday] feeling good, that's a different story."
As I write this at 7:43am, I'm pretty sure Ray Allen has already tested his ankle. He knew his availability the moment after his ankle hit the floor.
If the ankle is too swollen or sore, maybe the Celtics can start predicting his good/bad days. Forget about practice. If after two days of rest, the ankle is good enough to practice, just hold Ray back until game night. Make sense?
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – No apology, but Rondo thanks teammates | Podcast: MacMullan on Celtics | Changing of the Celtics guards | Herald – Battling Rondo not apologetic | Ryan Hollins at center of Doc's attention | CSNNE – Smith's call to play against Cs | Rondo ready to return, says he has nothing to prove | Bass has late mother to thank for NBA career | WEEI – Making sense of unapologetic, thankful, defiant Rondo | Globe – Rondo grateful, confident
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images