BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics won a hard-fought battle against the Atlanta Hawks to take Game 2 of their playoff series 87-80 Tuesday night.

With the series tied 1-1, things shift back to Boston with the Celtics feeling very confident after bouncing back from a less than inspiring showing in Game 1.

Center Greg Stiemsma joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday, and said the Celtics knew what had to be done Tuesday night.

“We just had to be better, as simple as that is,” said Stiemsma. “Game 1 we wanted to play well; we wanted to go in and get some momentum early but we couldn’t get anything going.  We spun our wheels and couldn’t find a rhythm. Game 2, we wanted to show that we feel like we’re one of the best teams in the league still. We haven’t played our best yet, we just kind of grinded one out last night. As long as we can just stick to what we’ve been doing all season and have the grind mentality, then we should be fine.”

After logging 19 minutes on the floor in Game 1, Stiemsma only saw eight minutes of action in Game 2. Some fear a foot injury he’s been dealing with recently has flared up again, but the rookie center said the injury is no issue.

“The feet feel good. This is the best my feet have felt in quite a while,” said Stiemsma, who finished the regular season averaging 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. “It felt good to get that few days rest I had last week; I think it really paid off.”

Read: Was Paul Pierce “Tebowing?”

As for his decrease in minutes, he is not too worried about that with the veterans that are playing in front of him.

“Come playoff time there is no need to rest guys, no need to save anything for later,” he said. “Once that fourth quarter hits and KG is rolling and we have guys that are in that rhythm, we aren’t going to break it up.”

The Celtics were without Rajon Rondo for Game 2, who served his one-game suspension for bumping referee Marc Davis in the fourth quarter of Game 1. Rondo was with the team after the win, and Stiemsma said nothing really needed to be said to the talented, but moody, point guard.

“He was excited. He knew we were ready to step up when we needed to, and he’s anxious to get back on the floor this weekend,” Stiemsma said of Rondo.

“Nobody yelled at him or anything like that. He was disappointed the whole situation went down, but at the same time we couldn’t change it and we knew that. We kept going with it and we were fortunate to get the win,” Stiemsma said. “We just dealt with it. We weren’t going to make any excuses, it was what it was. We were fortunate enough to step up and have Paul have a phenomenal game and carry us to a win.”

Read: Pierce Does It All For Celtics In Game 2

What did Stiemsma think of Josh Smith’s missed dunk? Would he have gone for some razzle-dazzle in the same situation? Hear that and more with Celtics center Greg Stiemsma!


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