NBA: Celtics hope to stop Rose, avoid 2-0 hole
BOSTON ó If words could stop Derrick Rose, the Celtics would be doing better in the playoffs.
“Everybody has their night,” Boston center Kendrick Perkins said Sunday. “I know it won’t happen again. He’ll never have another game like that against us.”
The defending NBA champions need more than strong statements to cool off the 20-year-old rookie. In his playoff debut, the Chicago Bulls’ point guard had 36 points and 11 assists in a 105-103 overtime win at the Celtics home Saturday.
That’s where Game 2 will be tonight, and the Celtics know exactly what they must do better on defense ó hurry back against the speedy Bulls, communicate, stop the pick-and-roll and get the ball out of Rose’s hands as soon as possible.
A tall order, perhaps, but one they must fill to have a better chance of avoiding a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-seven series going into Thursday night’s game in Chicago.
“It wasn’t anything that they did” Perkins said. “It was all on us.”
The Bulls certainly would disagree, although they avoided strong words that the Celtics might use as bulletin-board material.
After all, the top-seeded Celtics are the more skillful team, even without the sidelined Kevin Garnett, although Boston coach Doc Rivers conceded that the eighth-seeded Bulls are more athletic.
“I was just doing anything I could to win that game,” Rose said, speaking like a seasoned veteran wary of stirring up controversy.
He did plenty. The 36 points tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA record for a playoff debut. On Sunday, Rose, a humble, team-oriented player, paid the proper respect.
“I’m honored to be in a category with him,” Rose said. “He’s a great player and a great guy.”
The Celtics know they didn’t have a great game, or even a good one, on Saturday. Yet they still had a chance to win on a day when sharpshooter Ray Allen missed 11 of his 12 shots.
On Sunday, they were angry or hopeful, depending on who was speaking.
“You’ve got to be angry. It’s the playoffs and we were at home,” Perkins said. “I’m going to be mad all the way up until (Monday), until after we get the win.”