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BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics head coach Doc Rivers already avoided a fine for criticizing officials in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
He didn’t want to walk that tight rope again following Boston’s Game 2 115-111 overtime loss to the Heat Wednesday night.
When asked if it was tough to overcome foul and 50-50 calls not going their way, Rivers had some fun with the reporter, saving some of the cash in his wallet at the same time.
“Can you call it something else other than 50-50 calls? Can you come up with another percentage for me?” Doc joked with the reporter. “I’m not saying anything; I’d like you to say it.”
The reporter did not come up with another percentage, but understood what Doc was getting at.
But Rivers did not want to elaborate much on the percentage.
“I cannot,” he said. “Listen, it is what it is. LeBron James took 24 free throws tonight and our team took 29. Paul Pierce fouled out of a game where he was attacking the basket. It’s just tough. But listen, we just got to keep playing. I tell my guys, it doesn’t matter, we can’t get distracted. We will not get distracted in this series.”
Doc On Game 2 Officiating
The Celtics did not lose Game 2 because of officiating, but it certainly did not help. The discrepancy was there — as it has been for opponents of the Heat all offseason – with Boston being whistled for 33 fouls, Miami 18. The Heat shot 47 free throws, with the Celtics hitting the line 33 times. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade were each tagged with just two fouls. The Celtics had three players foul out, including Paul Pierce. Greg Stiemsma nearly set an NBA record by picking up four fouls in his first three minutes on the floor. Somehow, he escaped the wrath of the whistle in his two minutes of play in the third quarter.
But what will have the Celtics fuming for some time is a no-call in overtime. With the game tied at 105-105 with 1:35 left in the extra frame, Rajon Rondo drove to the basket for a layup attempt and was hit on the head by the defending Wade. No whistle was blown, and Miami surged down the court for an easy layup. The Celtics never recovered as the Heat went on to score the next seven points.
Like Doc, Rondo did not want to say much on the officials.
“It was obvious, but I can’t comment,” he said following his 44-point, 10-assist, eight rebound performance.
“We all thought he got hit,” added Ray Allen, next to Rondo at the postgame podium. “I’ll say it.”
After the game, Rivers was certain his team was thinking by the constant blowing of the whistles (or not blowing of the whistle in some cases), with very few calls going in their favor, but said they have to get over that come Friday.
“I guarantee you right now they’re distracted in the locker room. But we have to get it out of us and move on,” said Rivers. “Whatever happened happened, we just have to move on and play the next game.”
The Celtics return home for Game 3 Friday night. Maybe some home court advantage will help even things out a bit more with the officiating. But if it doesn’t, the Celtics will just have to put it behind them and continue to battle.