At halftime last night, the Celtics were falling apart on the court and, apparently, in their dressing room, as well.

Down 53-38 to the Hawks after playing a putrid 24 minutes, they were taking it out on each other before Paul Pierce stopped the noise.

"Doc (Rivers) came in and just wanted to tell guys what was wrong," said Pierce, "and it just seemed like we were looking at one another and it was just like, you know, we've got to be able to accept coaching. Doc's telling them what's wrong, and, you know, guys are getting mad at him. And I'm like, this ain't it. Don't get mad at Doc. He's coaching. We've got to get mad at this other team. It was needed.

"We had to bring the fight to them," the captain said. "I think we were kind of bickering at each other a little bit too much, figuring out what kind of defense we run. That was a little bit too much for me. I just had to say, you know, 'We're fighting against one another. It's against the team out there on the court. And once we realize that, we can play some ball.'

"And we stepped up that third quarter and played the type of ball that we know we can play."