It’s impossible to have a must-win game before the All-Star break, right?
Wrong, according to Paul Pierce. He believes today’s game against the Lakers is a must-win, even this early in the season. (Via the Boston Herald)
“We’ve got to do a better job,” said Pierce, looking at poor performances against contenders. “We’ve got the Lakers coming in (today), so we feel like it’s a must win.
“These are teams we’re going to see in the playoffs, so we’re giving them a psychological edge right now. It’s not something where you’re going to just be able to turn it on once the playoffs start. You know, we’ve got to start turning it around right now.”
In all honesty, as much as I could dispute any game being a must-win before the All-Star break, the Celtics could badly use a healthy dose of confidence. The depths of the worst month in the three years of the Kevin Garnett Era has seemingly everyone in America declaring the Celtics washed-up.
Pierce continued to give his take on the Celtics-Lakers rivalry:
“It’s always a big deal when the Celtics play the Lakers,” he said. “It is for me, because that rivalry is something that got me into basketball. Watching the Celtics and the Lakers made me want to be a player, so it’s always a big deal.
“You know, Lakers fans hate the Celtics and Celtics fans hate the Lakers. You don’t really see that with other pro teams except for baseball with Boston and New York. The Celtics and Lakers fans are really into it, and that makes this special.”
While Pierce thinks this game has become a must-win, Glen Davis sees it as a big game, but knows the Celtics need to get better each and every game… for a team that’s lost 10 of its last 16 games, every game is big.
“It’s Lakers and Celtics, so that means it’s always a big game right there,” he said. “But right now we’re really just focused on trying to play better and get a win. We really don’t care who it’s against right now.
“So this is a huge game, but every game’s huge. The guys before us made this a huge rivalry, and it’s been fun being a part of it for me. But right now we’re focused on getting ourselves where we need to be.”
Unlike Pierce and Davis, Rajon Rondo seems to be downplaying the game:
“This is another game for us. Each game is big for us right now. It started with the Clippers (last) week. It’s been a tough week for us.”
“I wasn’t really born when all the history was made. For me this game is just as big as playing Orlando or Atlanta.”
The Celtics just hope Rondo doesn’t play like he did against Orlando and Atlanta. Despite averaging 8.5 points and 8 assists in the two-game losing streak, Rondo was largely non-existent when the Celtics needed him.