Celtics

C's get big win, rest before trip

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C's get big win, rest before trip

BOSTON The Boston Celtics got the one thing that every team - old or young - would want on the eve of a long road trip - a blowout win.

The C's 104-86 win over Portland was a game in which the final score does not do justice to how dominant the Celtics (21-18) were in winning at home for the fifth straight game.

Boston led by as many as 43 points, the kind of lead that afforded the Celtics' veterans to spend the entire fourth quarter on the bench, cheering on the backups who saw more action than usual.

C's Captain Paul Pierce was one of the more vocal Celtics at encouraging the team to not let up so that he and the rest of the core players could spend the fourth quarter on the bench.

"You just have to focus on concentrating and execution," said Pierce, who had 22 points. "You don't want to go out there and start getting sloppy."

It's easy to imagine a letdown with a halftime lead (65-30) that more than doubled the opponent's point total.

"We were up so much at the half, we said we were going to come out here and execute our stuff, you know be sharp in everything we do," Pierce said.

The Celtics were guillotine-like sharp in chopping down the Blazers, as they increased their lead to as many as 43 points.

It was the kind of performance the Celtics would love to have more often.

But on the eve of heading out on an eight-game road trek?

The timing for a game like this could not have been much better, especially with it providing his guys additional rest.

"It's a long road trip, but I do think there's rest in it," Rivers said. "The first two games (at Los Angeles Lakers and at Los Angeles Clippers) are tough because of the long flight, you play (early) and then you play the next day. But then after that, there's days off in between."

Still, heading out on the road with some momentum sure beats the alternative.

While the Celtics maintain that all games are important now, there does appear to be some games where they seem more locked in to what they have to do to win.

Friday night was one of those times.

"We needed this, and put a lot of focus into this game," said Boston's Sasha Pavlovic, who had a season-high 10 points off the bench. "If we play like this on the road, we'll be fine; we can beat anybody with this type of mentality."

Stevens: Celtics haven't played well enough to make streak 'valid'

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Stevens: Celtics haven't played well enough to make streak 'valid'

You know who else - besides Charles Barkley - isn't impressed by the Celtics' 14-game winning streak?

Their coach. 

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At the shootaround in Atlanta before the Celtics attempt to make it 15 in a row tonight against the Hawks, Brad Stevens told reporters, including ESPN's Chris Forsberg, that his team hasn't played well enough to make the streak "valid." 

“We haven’t played well enough to consider this win streak to be valid in my opinion,” Stevens said."We’ve figured out ways to win games. We gotta play a lot better.”

The Celtics have come back from double-digit deficits a number of times in the streak. Stevens said they're fortunate those rallies have kept the streak going.  

"We've got to be better, and we know that," Stevens said. "We can't get so caught up in the results of all these games and ride that emotion. We've been fortunate to win a lot of the games in this streak, including Thursday night [92-88 over the defending champion Golden State Warriors]. If we dig ourselves a 17-point hole every other game, it's not going to be as much fun as we've had recently."


 

Kyrie goes back to the mask tonight

Kyrie goes back to the mask tonight

The mask will be back tonight in Atlanta for Kyrie Irving.

The Celtics guard told reporters at the team's shootaround Saturday in preparation for Saturday night's game against the Hawks - where Boston will try and win its 15th in a row - that he'll grudgingly go back to wearing the clear plastic facemask he had been using to protect a facial fracture he suffered last week. 

Irving wore the mask against Brooklyn for a full game earlier in the week then ditched it in the second half of the victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. He shot just 4-for-16 from the field (1-for-5 on 3's) against the Warriors and has made no secret of his disdain for wearing it.  

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