Nets look to rebound, regain homecourt edge vs. CelticsPosted: Friday May 24, 2002 7:07 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Rebounding has been a word with two meanings for the New Jersey Nets this season.
One is the act of grabbing a missed shot. When the Nets have done that well, they have usually won.
In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Nets held a 49-38 edge on the boards and won 104-97. The Boston Celtics outrebounded New Jersey 60-50 in winning Game 2 of the best-of-seven series 93-86.
The other type of rebounding in which the Nets have excelled is coming back against a team that beat them in the previous meeting.
New Jersey was 11-2 in the regular season against teams that beat them in an earlier game.
In the playoffs, the Nets have not lost two in a row, a streak they hope to continue Saturday in Boston, where the Celtics have won 10 straight.
"We're going to play hard, I can guarantee you that," Nets coach Byron Scott said Friday after a short workout and film session. "It's going to be a fun two games. We'll see what happens."
Scott said the Nets have to rebound much better than in Game 2.
New Jersey's front line of Kenyon Martin, Keith Van Horn and Todd MacCulloch grabbed 17 rebounds. The Celtics' leading trio of Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker and Tony Battie combined for 37, with each player finishing in double figures.
"Rebounding is all about having an attitude," Scott said. "It has to be the same type of approach. We know we have to get more offensive rebounds than we did in Game 2, and we know we have to limit them."
The Celtics grabbed the early momentum in Game 2 with offensive rebounds. It not only turned into points, Martin said it also stopped the Nets' transition game.
"I think it was the key in Game 1, we did it well," MacCulloch added. "It was the key for them in Game 2, they did it well. That's definitely the key. The other is making shots."
Neither team did that in Game 2, although the Celtics won because they shot just a little better than New Jersey.
Scott has stressed both rebounding and shooting since Tuesday's loss. He also has preached about being ready and focused going into what is bound to be a hostile arena.
"I think you will see a team that is a little more driven than it was in Game 2," Scott said of the Nets. "I don't think we relaxed, I just think for some reason we couldn't get it going. Give them some credit. The bottom line was we didn't make shots we normally make."
Keith Van Horn, who struggled through a 2-for-12 shooting night in Game 2, expects more in Game 3.
"That wasn't us out there," he said. "We didn't play the way we are capable of, not as team or as individuals. We all want to improve upon that and we all know we can play much better."
That's the other part of rebounding. If the Nets do both in Game 3, they will regain the home-court advantage they lost in Game 2.