A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “‘I know at times we make it look easy; it’s not,’ said Kevin Garnett, who had 9 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. ‘[The Cavs'] true strength is playing together. They don’t have that one or two, go-to guys. They do play well together. They do play hard.’ And it is that latter point about playing hard that the Celtics have to be on guard about this season. The C’s have just two games under their belt, so there’s no need to panic or be overly concerned. But Wednesday’s loss was the second game in as many nights that the C’s had a commanding lead that was significantly cut into in the fourth quarter. Blaming the fact that it was a back-to-back for the Celtics and the season opener for Cleveland is too easy of an excuse. The Celtics believe they are a championship-caliber team that can beat any team, anywhere, regardless of the circumstances. Losses like the one they suffered on Wednesday, at the very least, gives reason to pause. ‘It’s more the mental-toughness part,’ Rivers said. ‘We got a lead, and you could see us relax.’”
Pat McManamon, NBA FanHouse – “‘I think we’re the most popular team in Cleveland right now,’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ‘Beating Miami and losing to the Cavs.’ … Rivers was having none of the back-to-back-following-an-emotional win excuse. He merely said the Cavs were up to the challenge and his team was not. O’Neal and the rest of his teammates admitted they did not match the effort given by the Cavs. ’That’s got to be our signature,’ said Gibson, who saw an 0 for 8 shooting start turn into a 16-point finish. ‘You have to understand,’ said Boston’s Paul Pierce, ‘this team is hungry. Everybody is against them and everybody is writing them off.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “For failing to bring the requisite energy and focus against a team that will struggle to be mediocre this season, the Celtics are now a .500 team. The Celts turned the ball over 19 times and gave up 16 second-chance points in absorbing a 95-87 loss to the Cavaliers. ‘I didn’t like the way we played a lot of the game, honestly,’ Rivers said. ‘I thought we were very loose on defense, very loose on offense. You know, the turnovers again. Nineteen turnovers (after 20 in the season opener). They’re killing us. They’re absolutely killing us. And we got away from the post game. I thought we established the post early on, and I thought we got away from it. Just too much one-on-one dribbling. We’re a better team than that. It was a mental-toughness game for us to try to match their energy.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “In a play that capped the Celtics’ collapse, Anthony Parker caught an inbounds pass, pivoted, dribbled, and released a shot, all in one second according to the clock operator. He drained a 3-pointer for an 89-84 lead. ’That was the longest second in NBA history,’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ‘Somebody didn’t push that button quick enough.’ Said Ray Allen: ‘I just assumed the horn was going to go off.’ The Celtics were done after that. They missed open shots. They couldn’t make an entry pass. Their frustration mounted. Afterward, the Celtics realized they had been burned by their own delusions of grandeur. They took a team minus its franchise player lightly, and the same exaggerated self-opinion that plagued them last season against lesser teams returned. ‘You have to play four quarters,’ Allen said. ‘It’s opening night for them. I just think we took them too lightly. We didn’t continue to execute and do the things we’re capable of doing for the entirety of the game. A call doesn’t go our way and then the game was tight and ended up going in their favor.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “The shooting numbers for Jermaine O’Neal, in a word, suck. The shooting woes he experienced with the Miami Heat in the playoffs last season have apparently followed him to Boston. O’Neal has missed four of his five shots from the field with the Celtics this season. Yes, it’s a small sample of shot attempts to work from, obviously. But it’s a sample size that reflects to a large degree how O’Neal shot the ball prior to signing with the Celtics. The six-time All-Star is coming off a season in which he shot a career-best 52.9 percent from the field. However, O’Neal’s hot-hand cooled off considerably in the playoffs when he shot just 20.5 percent from the field.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Referee Bob Delaney whistled Nate Robinson for a technical when he kneed Ryan Hollins in the groin area on a drive to the basket with the Celtics leading, 77-76, with 8:32 left. O’Neal was then whistled for an additional technical for arguing the call. Television replays showed that Robinson, who is 5 feet 9 inches, tried to clear space to convert a layup against the 7-foot Hollins. After the game, Robinson claimed the contact was accidental. ‘Bob said I made an overt act,’ O’Neal said. ‘But I was just trying to explain why Nate kicked [Hollins]. I’ve gotta go and get my Bob Delaney jersey when I get home. I am going to go and order that.’ Daniel Gibson hit both technical free throws for a 78-77 lead, Antawn Jamison followed with a runner, and Cleveland would never relinquish the momentum. ‘I don’t really know what the rule is. I didn’t have an angry voice, I didn’t have an angry face or a loud voice,’ O’Neal said. ‘I was just explaining, but who knows?’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “The lift seems back in his legs and his defense is returning to previous levels. Where Garnett still needs to make his mark is on offense. There were opportunities for him to go to work on the block against the Cavs, just as there were throughout the playoffs, but he remained mostly on the perimeter. Still, that part of his game will come in time. If the Celtics can continue to get double-digit rebounding games from Garnett consistently, they will be more than happy with the 2010-11 version.”
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