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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics were back on the practice court Friday afternoon, getting ready to start their Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night at the TD Garden.
However, the Celtics did not practice Friday afternoon. Instead, head coach Doc Rivers opted for a light shoot around to rest up his team after just beating the Hawks in Game 6 of the first round Thursday night.
Both Boston and Philadelphia have one night to prepare — and rest — for the East Semis, and Rivers said you can tell how tired the Celtics are just by comparing their reaction after Game 6 to that of the Sixers.
“Just looking at the tape – we look at everything – they were excited and we were relieved. It’s amazing the two different reactions,” Rivers said from the team’s practice facilities in Waltham. “When the clock went off for us we were like ‘let’s go to bed.’ You can almost say they have the emotional advantage in that because they’re so high about their win. We have to match that tomorrow.”
Doc On Sixers, Rivalry:
“Physically both teams are probably going to be a little banged up. Of course, that’s just going through tough playoff series,” said captain Paul Pierce, who is battling an MCL strain. “It’s good to our advantage; I think we’re a better team in rhythm when we’re playing every other day. I don’t think we play as well when we have two, three days off. It’s good for us to keep a rhythm.”
“It’s a challenge because of our bodies,” said Rivers, concerned about Pierce and Ray Allen, who is dealing with an ankle injury as well. “The Sixers are pretty healthy right now and we’re not. That’s the challenge. Ray is struggling today, Paul is struggling today. That’s a challenge. Other than that, the advantage we have is we don’t have to get on a plane and sleep in their beds tonight and tomorrow night, get some rest.”
But the Celtics aren’t going to rest their laurels on home-court advantage. Philadelphia is a very well-balanced team with no true super star, but have a lot of guys that can explode on any given night.
“This is a team that nobody knows who exactly can play well,” said Ray Allen. “They have guys that play hard, they have a deep bench. It’s about five guys; you go into a playoff series and these guys are playing well together. It’s not about one guy taking a shot. Those are the teams that are more dangerous because you have an all-around attack.”
“Tough team man,” Garnett said of Philly. “They play with a lot of energy, they play together. They know who they are. Doug (Collins) has those guys believing…. They’re not talking a lot, just coming out and showing up to play. They’re a young team, and they’re playing with a lot of confidence. Confidence is something you need in this league and they’re playing with a lot of it.”
Ray Allen On Matchup With Philly:
And after the 76ers took two of the three regular season matchups, and in convincing fashion, the Celtics know what they’re going up against. Although in Allen’s mind, getting drubbed in the regular might not be so bad come Saturday night.
“I’m a little happier they beat us in the fashion they did in the regular season. Beating them 3-0 — if we did in the regular season — you go in a little bit too cocky and arrogant,” said the 15-year vet. “But since they beat us two times out of three, we know this team is capable and they’ve had our number. We really need to zone in and focus on beating them; taking care of all the things we didn’t do well when we played them.”