No Excuses
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LOS ANGELES, June 11, 2008 -- The Boston Celtics lost Game 3 of the 2008 NBA Finals last night. In the game, they were called for five more fouls than the Lakers and attempted 12 fewer free throws. The calls that went their way in Boston went the way of the Lakers when the series moved to L.A.

But the Celtics aren't making any complaints about the officiating. They simply believe that the Lakers were more aggressive than they were in Game 3.

"Hats off to them," Eddie House said after the game. "They executed better than us, played a whole lot harder then us tonight, and they hit shots when they needed to."

Whereas Lakers coach Phil Jackson was quick to criticize the officiating after Game 2 in Boston, Doc Rivers refuses to complain or make excuses. Before Game 3, he was asked about Jackson's assertion that talking about calls between games can be beneficial down the line.

"I disagree," Rivers said. "I don't think that's true."

And today, when asked about allegations made by former official Tim Donaghy, Rivers made it clear how he feels.

"I don't have any thought, and I never have, about the integrity of our officials," Rivers said. "It's the toughest game in sports to officiate."

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined to shoot 8-for-35 in Game 3. They clearly didn't have their legs, likely a result of having to travel cross-country Monday and deal with an early start on Tuesday.

But the Celtics aren't making any complaints about the travel. They know that the Lakers had to deal with the same schedule.

"I don't think anybody is 100 percent at this point," Kevin Garnett said today. "You could see the travel and the fatigue, I think, on both teams. I think both teams definitely have a lot more potential to play better. I think both teams will play better obviously with a day of rest. And I'm no different from that."

"Both teams experienced it," Pierce added. "We got into [Los Angeles] not too much longer after the Lakers landed, so I really don't want to use that as an excuse."

Last night, adding to the Celtics' injury woes, Rajon Rondo sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. This comes after Paul Pierce suffered his much-discussed right knee injury and Kendrick Perkins sprained his left ankle in Game 1. The Lakers, if you discount the absence of Andrew Bynum, are relatively injury-free.

But the Celtics aren't using their health as an excuse. Today, Rivers denied that Pierce's knee was a factor in Game 3.

"No," Rivers said. "We're not going to use that, I can tell you that. Paul is a human being; he just didn't have a great game. I thought the Lakers did a nice job defending him. But other than that, no, I don't think there was anything wrong with his knee."

And when asked about the possibility that Rondo could miss Game 4 tomorrow, Rivers noted his point guard's importance, but then stressed that he doesn't put much thought into the availability of his players at all.

"I don't worry about guys out; I just don't," he said. "That's why we play them all, and it's nothing I fret about a whole bunch. If a guy is out, somebody else has to step up and play. That's what we've done all year. When Kevin was out, we played well. When Rondo was out, he actually missed the [regular season] game here in LA, we started Tony Allen and we played great. So I don't concern myself a lot with guys being out. I just don't think that's a good place for a coach to ever be."

The Boston Celtics lost Game 3 of the 2008 NBA Finals last night. But it wasn't anybody's fault but their own. And they'll be the first to tell you that.

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