It hasn’t been an easy road for the Celtics in this postseason, and it isn’t about to get any easier.


After falling to the Lakers in Game 3, the C’s need to even up the NBA Finals tonight or they’ll be put in a situation they have yet to see in the playoffs — facing elimination.


As always, it starts with defense and rebounding.


The team with the overall rebounding edge has won all three games of the Finals. And if the Celtics aren’t getting stops, they won’t be able to utilize Rajon Rondo enough in transition — they’re at their best offensively when Rondo’s running.


The other issue is the foul trouble the Celtics have been in throughout the series. Coach Doc Rivers has been quite vocal with his displeasure on the way fouls have been called. It’s prevented the Boston starters from getting into any sort of flow together.

“[Paul Pierce would] play five minutes [in Game 3], have to go back down, four minutes, have to sit,” Rivers said. “I mean, he wasn’t allowed to play. They didn’t allow him to play.”

Rondo is having some trouble running a smooth offense with key teammates being taken off the court so frequently.

“We can win without those guys clicking; it’s just hard to get into an offensive rhythm when two of your guys are in foul trouble the entire game,” Rondo said before practice yesterday.

“I won’t be surprised if I’m in foul trouble tomorrow.”

Regardless of how tonight’s game is called, the Celtics need to bring everything they’ve got.

“We just have to go out there and play,” Kendrick Perkins said.

“Even with the games being called close, I think we still have a chance to win the game.”