By ROBERT LEE
Journal Sports Writer
ORLANDO Fla. -- There is something about playing on the road that brings out the best in the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics posted a better record on the road during the regular season (26-15) than at home (24-17). Boston captain Paul Pierce credits the veteran experience of the Celtics for being able to overcome everything against them when they are on the road.
"I would say definitely our experience being in tough situations in the playoffs, tough situations throughout the regular season, there is a different toughness you have to have on the road," Pierce said. "A lot of teams can win at home, but when you're back is against the wall, I think that's when we are at our best. This is a strong group.
"You have to have another gear when you're on the road. You're not going to get the same calls. It's hard to get momentum. The crowd isn't cheering for you. I love that. I love that type of adversity. That's why we've been a good road team, a great road team over the last few years.
"We were even better this year [on the road] than we were at home. I don't know why. That's crazy."
The Celtics thrive off the boos that rain down on them from road crowds. They feed off of that energy, and it drives them to play harder.
"When you're on the road and you're at a disadvantage, other things go up like your focus and toughness," Pierce said.
Pierce said that the only way he can describe it is like when people lose sight, their other senses like hearing and smell goes up.
"When we go on the road, our sense of urgency is always up," Pierce said. "Our toughness goes up...When you're at home, you're more comfortable and things are easy going...When you're on the road, you don't have that and I think everything heightens."
When the Celtics walked off the court at Amway Arena after Game One, in a game where they fought through the boos and the name callings from the crowd of more than 17,000, they saw the dejected looks on the faces of the Magic faithful, and it made them happy.
"There's no better feeling," Pierce said. "To look up in the crowd and see their faces, their reactions, I love it. I'm telling you, I love it. I love it when people talk bad about me on the road. It's like, this is basketball man. You don't get this in high school or college, being in a hostile environment.
"You look at signs that say `Pierce you look like this,' you love that stuff as a competitor. Then when the lead goes up, they quietly put the signs down...It's fun to watch."