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Doc Rivers wants Celtics to throw first punch. Figuratively.

Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 06: Kevin Garnett #5, Ray Allen #20 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics react in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers on January 6, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Indiana Pacers defeated the Boston Celtics 87-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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The Boston Celtics won banner 17 in part because of their size — there are a big, physical team.

Doc Rivers wants his Celtics to start showing it again, he told the Boston Herald.

“We’re just not there yet as a team,” Rivers said after yesterday’s practice. “I think we’ve got a tough group of guys; we just haven’t all bought in yet. It’ll come. I’m not that concerned by it. I just know we need it.

“We’ve got to be a hit-first team, and we’ll get there.”

While there isn’t really a stat for toughness, it’s worth noting that the Celtics have been a below average rebounding team this season (21st in the league overall in percentage of available rebounds grabbed). That was particularly evident against the Pacers the other night when Indy seemed to outwork Boston for a lot of boards.

They’ve also been a below average defensive team, 21st in the league giving up 101 points per 100 possessions.

They are better than that, but with an older Kevin Garnett and no Kendrick Perkins it is going to have to be much more of a team effort.