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A week ago at this time, the Celtics were rolling along with a seven-game winning streak. Now they have to strain to find a bright side.

``Well, we don't have to worry about peaking any more,'' coach Doc Rivers cracked as he prepared to take a three-game losing streak into tonight's game with the Mavericks.

Added Paul Pierce [news], ``We've been humbled a bit these last three games, but I think we understand what our problem is and how we're losing these ballgames. We've got to understand that in this last stretch of games teams are going to take their play up to another level, especially against us, being one of the top teams in the East.

``We're killing ourselves on all the little things of the game - just mental focus. I can look at one or two plays that cost us the Chicago game, one or two plays that cost us (in) Detroit. It's just little, mental focus things. It's going to be the little things that get us over the top - boxing out, rebounding, guys talking on defense. Those are things that are going to win or lose games for us.''

Little things turned very large when the Celts met the Mavericks in Dallas back in December. The C's shriveled up, falling behind by 28 in the second quarter and losing by 19.

``We really embarrassed ourselves the first time we played in Dallas, so we're going to give a better effort this time around,'' Pierce said. ``We're a whole different ballclub - a lot more on the line.''

According to Rivers, ``Dallas is playing great. (Monday) night I watched them really closely, and I thought Detroit played well and I never thought it was really a game. They're playing great basketball. They're playing more defense than they ever have. They're moving the ball. Dirk Nowitzki is on fire right now. (Josh) Howard and (Marquis) Daniels are playing absolutely great basketball for their team.''
http://celtics.bostonherald.com/celtics/view.bg?articleid=75651
 

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This is a game that's gonna be a War in my opinion.
Pierce is gonna put this club on his back like he did in the Detroit game.
If Toine can connect with atleast 50% of his 40 shots we'll do fine :p..
But our main goal for this game would be to go in there BOX OUT, Grab everything on the glass, and play some MAD Defense. We could beat Dallas.
STOP DIRK..

PdP
 

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this is ricky and tony's kinda game i think them and paul should get dirk in early foul trouble driving tha ball nothing outside till he left tha game 4 a while because then we can own tha boards n hopefully pull out a lead and fend tha mavs off 4 tha rest of tha game...GO CELTICS :gbanana:
 

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PhearDaPierce said:
Pierce is gonna put this club on his back like he did in the Detroit game.
PdP
Sorry, but if this happens tonight's game is money in the bank...for Dallas. The C's are at their best when they play TEAM ball, not when one person thinks he can win it all by himself. Notice how many shots Pierce took during the winning streak and how many he has taken during the last three games. You can't beat the good teams unless everyone is involved in the offense so that they can't afford to focus on just one player.

This game looks to me like a game where the bneches will have more to say in the final outcome than the starters will. Our starting five can't match up with Dallas' starting five IMHO, but if they can keep it close I think we have a stronger bench and that just might be the difference.
 

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BackwoodsBum said:
Sorry, but if this happens tonight's game is money in the bank...for Dallas. The C's are at their best when they play TEAM ball, not when one person thinks he can win it all by himself. Notice how many shots Pierce took during the winning streak and how many he has taken during the last three games. You can't beat the good teams unless everyone is involved in the offense so that they can't afford to focus on just one player.

This game looks to me like a game where the bneches will have more to say in the final outcome than the starters will. Our starting five can't match up with Dallas' starting five IMHO, but if they can keep it close I think we have a stronger bench and that just might be the difference.
Tell Dallas, they seem to be pretty successful despite the fact that Dirk fires up shots at a rate that Pierce would find inconceivable. He fires up 25% more shots. More than that, his shot rate was comparable to Paul's last year (.449 to .483), when Pierce was a one man gang (and Dirk played on a loaded team), and Dirk spent the year whining and pouting about not getting enough shots (which was the reason Dallas ditched everyone that shot the ball in the offseason). So spare me, if Pierce has a great game, Boston's chances of winning get better, not worse.
 

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What Dirk does or doesn't do doesn't change the fact that when Pierce starts hogging the ball the C's offense grinds to a complete halt. Everyone else stands around while he dribbles the ball for most of the 24 seconds then jacks up a bad shot while double or triple teamed. If he is moving without the ball and shooting within the flow of the offense, then yes he is helping the team, but when he tries to do it all himself we're back to the same horrendous offens that Obie ran. Also, that kind of offense usually leads to poor defense because nobody is in rebounding position so the C's get outrebounded and the opponents are able to get out and run and get better shot opportunities.

If he is hitting his shots you might win some games against lesser teams playing this style, but you will not consistently beat a good team and Dallas is a good team. When Pierce, Davis, Walker, and others are all spreading the offense around the C's have too many weapons to stop and they can beat anyone. That's what they were doing when they were winning. Like I said, compare the way the C's played during their winning streak and how they have played the last few games. When they were winning they were running on offense, people were moving without the ball, they were'nt shooting a lot of three's, and they were seldom running isolation plays for anyone. The last few games have been just the opposite, with too many threes, Pierce trying to play one on five, and everyone else just standing around. If they want to have a hope of beating Dallas (and going anywhere in the playoffs for that matter) they are going to have to go back to playing team ball. The C's simply have too many weapons to waste them by letting one person try to do it all. Even Jordan never won anything when he was trying to be a one man show and Pierce couldn't carry Jordan's jock.
 
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