The Celtics landed in Salt Lake City this morning.
They cap a five-city western road swing tonight against the Utah Jazz in one of the toughest arenas in the league for a road team, and the Celtics couldn’t be much more road weary.
But this is where Paul Pierce, in the wake of last night’s 92-86 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, wants to see what the reconfigured Celtics are made of.
“I told the guys we have to finish off this road trip right, and try and salvage it someway, somehow,” Pierce said. “The last games are always the hardest games when you’ve been on a long road trip. Mentally you’re worn down, physically you’re worn down, and that’s when the good teams, the mentally tough teams find a way to get those wins.
“It’s definitely not easy with the way Utah has been our nemesis for awhile, but someway, somehow we have to go there and find a way. We still have a lot of building to do, but it would definitely be a confidence booster for us going home, if we understand we can win in tough buildings on the last night of a tough road trip.”
Fans on the move
Ever since the Celtics opened this road trip in Denver on Feb. 19, there has been a strong representation of Celtics in the stands.
Not that Pierce noticed it last night.
“I didn’t notice it, with the way we didn’t get to the line,” he grumbled, even though the Celtics took 15 free throws, which was only four fewer than Portland.
But others on the team noticed.
“I’m never surprised by that,” coach Doc Rivers said. “So far on this entire trip we’ve outnumbered the other team or been close. Celtics fans travel. They’ve been phenomenal on this road trip, and they know we need them. I don’t think they’ll be in Utah, though.” . . .
Road test for finishing school
Boston Herald | Feb 25