BOSTON — If they rebound from their first two-game post-season losing streak and fight off an elimination, the Celtics will have to summon a level of energy that looms large at the end of their Game 5 loss on Monday night. was not clear.
Ime Udoka admitted that after four rounds and 24 games of playoff basketball, the Celtics probably showed fatigue that night, due to the increased minute load for their regular players.
“It can be a tiring thing,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “We want to give those guys a little more rest and some new bodies are coming off the bench to keep them fresh at the end of the game. You look at all those things as far as rotation, lineup is concerned.”
Jason Tatum’s jump shot certainly produced the result in the form of three fourth quarter airballs, but the Celtics star no longer wants to change the pace, averaging about 41 minutes in the final.
To wit, Tatum showed up to his post-practice presser catching and hugging a basketball—possibly aside from the ball he refused to hand to Drummond Green—during the timeout on Monday night.
“It’s Game 6, the Elimination Game,” he said of Game 6 in the Garden on Thursday night. “There’s really no time to take a break. Obviously, during the game, I and (Udoka) will talk, if there’s room to find, then it’s time to rest. But that’s what timeouts are for.
“This season, we have at most two games left. So it’s just mental,” he said. “You have to fight through it. I’m not the only person who’s tired or battling injuries or whatever. The last two teams are standing. We’ve been playing for six, seven months. So everyone knows something. doing something. I’m not really focused on that at all. At most we have a week left, then I can rest for the whole summer.”
official business: In addition to their propensity for unforced errors, the Celtics continue to show a tendency to complain when games get tight, and no more than in Game 5, when excessive crying leads to technical glitches for both Udoka and Marcus Smart – The latter particularly damaging fourth quarter CT.
Complaining became an issue this week that it’s been addressed inside the locker room, according to Al Horford, who was upset enough by the issue to call the behavior Monday night. “We addressed it, and we understand that we have to move on from it,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “Officers are not perfect at the end of the day. We just need to get out there and focus on us. We need to do what we need to do. I believe the group understands this, and that is our intention.”
Udoka acknowledged that the constant sight of the Celtics facing the authorities must come to an end.
“I would just say that. I think there is a lot of conversation in general at times,” said the Celtics coach. “It seems like after a foul call or a dead ball, a free throw, a timeout, someone is talking to the referee. Used to be. Something that we insisted on at the start of the season and largely faded away. So we got something to spend our energy on the game, and everything else except the referee. An area in which we can definitely get better.
“I think we’ve been complaining too much at times throughout the game. A late game can’t be any different from the first, second or third quarters,” he said. Needs to get better. … Referee, I don’t know if this has had as much impact on the late game as on the whole or any other.”