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Celtics hope to rebound on home court

THE Boston Celtics are back home where they won three Game 5s on their way to the NBA championship last season.

They want to do it again or risk being a stunning first-round playoff casualty two days later in the noisy building of the young Chicago Bulls.

"I don't look back on last year," Ray Allen said on Monday. "I just know what the task is at hand right now and that's to beat the team that I feel we've given confidence to early in games that we've lost."

The Bulls' two victories required extra effort. They won the opener 105-103 in one overtime and Game 4 in two overtimes on Sunday, 121-118. Ben Gordon's 3-point shot with 4.5 seconds left sent that game into a second overtime, a gutty performance after he had strained his left hamstring in the second quarter.

An MRI Monday confirmed the diagnosis and Gordon was listed as day-to-day, though he said on Sunday he thought he'd play.

Poor defense and missed shots by the Celtics earlier in those losses set the stage for the dramatic finishes.

The Celtics remain "as confident as always," Allen said, but "we have a tendency ... to talk about what happened at the end of the game, but the tape shows you what happens consistently throughout the game and why you ultimately end up in the predicament that you end up in."

Last year Boston was tied 2-2 in its series with Atlanta, Cleveland and Detroit, going on to beat the Hawks and Cavaliers in seven games and the Pistons in six.

They won the NBA title in six games over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Intimidating frontcourt

But that team had Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe, James Posey and P.J. Brown as part of a defensively intimidating frontcourt.

In these playoffs Garnett and Powe are sidelined with knee injuries, Posey is with the New Orleans Hornets and Brown is retired.

"We're short-handed and we're trying to work our way through that," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.

The problem was compounded on Sunday when starting center Kendrick Perkins and reserve forward Brian Scalabrine fouled out.

Rivers said he won't allow his players to complain about fouls. Then he did that himself while dropping a hint for today's officials.

"I've got to say this about Perk. Clearly, every game he's being targeted for these moving screens," Rivers said. "He gets them called every game and, watching that tape (Sunday) night, there were two (fouls) that he did move in the direction but there was zero contact.

"Brad Miller, on the other hand, is flying around. He's laying guys out on screens and didn't get one of those called," Rivers said of Chicago's backup center. "That bothers you."


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