|11.12.09 at 3:23 pm ET|
WALTHAM – When he heard the news on Thursday that Byron Scott had been fired after a 3-6 start in New Orleans, Doc Rivers couldn’t help but think he had seen this script before.
It was November 2003 and the Orlando Magic decided to make a coaching change after a 1-10 start. It was Doc Rivers who was shown the door.
“That’s too bad,” Rivers said following Thursday’s practice. “It’s amazing that you can make a decision that quickly on a guy that was Coach of the Year a year-and-a-half ago. So, that’s our league.
“He matched me, basically. I was , so I lasted [two] longer, unfortunately. It just gave me [two] more losses,” Rivers added with a hearty laugh.
To be completely accurate, this isn’t even the first time this has happened to Scott.
In Dec. 2003, with his team languishing near .500 at 22-20, the Nets replaced him with assistant Lawrence Frank, who now is the second-longest tenured head coach in the East.
What makes it even more similar is the fact that both Scott and Rivers earned coach of the year honors only to be fired later on.
Rivers was coach of the year in 2000 with Orlando, leading a team that was picked dead last in the Eastern Conference to a near playoff berth. Scott earned his award in 2008, ironically the same season Rivers led his team to 66 wins and the NBA title.
That season, Scott led the Hornets to 56 wins and a berth in the Western Conference semis before bowing out to the Spurs.
|11.12.09 at 2:49 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Paul Pierce was sporting a bandage on the right side of his face after getting hit by an inadvertent elbow from Brian Scalabrine during Thursday’s practice.
“It went great,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “He elbowed one guy in the head and hit another guy so he’s back. Scal’s back.”
Pierce, who sustained only a minor scratch after a struggle for a loose ball, wasn’t the only victim of Scalabrine’s physicality in practice as J.R. Giddens got hit on the top of the head.
None of the injuries are expected to force any players to miss Friday’s game against Atlanta. Scalabrine returned to practice after back spasms forced him to miss two of the last three games.
|11.12.09 at 10:21 am ET|
At what point in a game like Wednesday night do you and the coaching staff start smoking the Red Auerbach cigar?
Rivers: A lot of times the young guys get on the floor and you’re trying to help them improve. There may be a point in a season where you need a Lester Hudson on the floor. So you never stop [coaching]
What about when Kevin Garnett goes up on two defenders on an alley-oop, in a blowout, do you hold your breath like everyone else? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about health?
No I don’t. I can’t worry about that. They’re healthy. Everyone’s healthy. Kevin’s 100 percent healthy and his game’s just going to keep getting better. So you don’t worry about that. You just worry about minutes and the minutes have been great this year. That’s the only thing you actually have any [control over], along with the gameplan.
What is it that you miss by not practicing. Is it physical? Is it mental?
I think you have slippage. When you play a lot of games and you don’t have a lot of time to adjust to some of the things that you’re slipping in, it just goes further. The discipline in that is execution offensively and defensively.
We did it at both ends last night, and that’s clearly a couple of things. Number one, they’re more rested and that’s both physically and mentally. But the most important thing is their execution. When you play eight games in 12 days you don’t have time to work on things and you lose a lot. You could see it in that game last night. Early on, one of my assistants, Kevin Eastman said, ‘It’s amazing what a couple of practices can do.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|11.12.09 at 8:13 am ET|
1. (10 LW): Disclaimer City: The Suns won’t be here at the end of the season, or even the end of the month, and I still don’t think they can D anybody up, and I still think Jason Richardson is a great scorer with the knucklehead gene. But with all that said, they had a five-game trip East and went 4-1, knocking off the Celtics and Heat along the way.
2. (1) : Yes, I’m liking the Sheed signing. I like that he can spread the floor with the 3 ball. But he relies on the 3 too much and, wow, the one rebound he had in 22 minutes against the Jazz isn’t nearly good enough.
3. (3): A couple of things I was thinking about the other day: 1. When Lamar Odom is hanging out with his Kardashian in-laws, has he ever been caught, you know, just taking a peek at the well-proportioned Kim while Khloe isn’t looking? 2. If the Lakers can be this good now, what’s gonna happen when Pau Gasol returns?
4. (8): I’m sorry, Donny Marshall, I just can’t let this one go: Hell, yeah, I’d take D-Wade and LeBron on the same team. And if I had them both, I think my team would beat yours. (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, check out last week’s rankings.)
|11.12.09 at 1:17 am ET|
So this is why Doc Rivers and his coaching staff were so happy to have two solid days of practice this week.
The Celtics more prepared to take a final exam than the Utah Jazz did to take a pop quiz as the C’s systematically took apart the Jazz, 105-86, at TD Garden.
The Celtics held the Jazz to 37-of-79 shooting for 46.8 percent. But most impressively, they forced Utah, a team that prides itself on execution, to commit 21 turnovers.
Apparently the Celtics were listening when the coaches, starting with defensive guru Tom Thibodeau, preached about staying ready for the pick-and-roll and not letting Utah’s big men of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur get easy baskets underneath.
Afterward, the Celtics were appreciative of their coaches’ preparation, as was head coach Doc Rivers.
|11.11.09 at 11:19 pm ET|
Bill Walker didn’t expect to hear his name called on Wednesday night. Even though he felt ready to play, he didn’t know if Doc Rivers felt the same.
“Actually I think he wanted me to get one more practice in, get more acclimated with everything before he wanted to put me in, but he just happened to put me in,” said Walker following the Celtics 105-86 win over the Jazz.
Walker had not played in the regular season since tearing the meniscus in his right knee during training camp. But with Brian Scalabrine sidelined, Rivers turned to Walker to give Rasheed Wallace a rest. He checked into his first game with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“I felt ready,” he said. “I felt pretty good after Monday’s practice. One thing that was missing was probably my conditioning. It’s a different type of conditioning from just running to actually getting out there, trying to dodge guys, getting hit, that type of thing. I’ll be fine though.”
Walker, who has suffered several knee injuries in the past, will take all the precautions to make avoid any irritation.
“Icing and rest, just get off my legs,” he explained. “Just take advantage of the down time we have and come in early tomorrow, get treatment, still work on everything I need to work on on my lower body.”
As Walker works his way back on to the court, he will judge his progress in practice. There is one play he looks forward to accomplishing again.
“You finally get out there and you’re chasing Ray [Allen] off a screen and you’re in front of him when he comes off of it,” he said with a laugh. “That’s a signal because not a lot of guys can do that. But I don’t know, it’s just getting out there and playing and not really favoring or thinking about your injury. That’s when you know you’re back.”
|11.11.09 at 11:00 pm ET|
There is a reason why the Celtics entered Wednesday’s game leading the league in assists. It isn’t only because of Rajon Rondo — point guards Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams are all ahead of him in dimes per game. It’s because the Celtics as a team look to pass, and that ball movement and selflessness were determining factors in their win over the Jazz.
“Doc [Rivers] and Coach [Armond] Hill were just saying move the ball,” Rondo said after the Celtics 105-86 victory. “It started in practice. We kept getting each other involved and we made plays for each other.”
The Celtics dished out 30 assists to the Jazz 18. Rondo accounted for 11, which totals more than Jazz starting guard Deron Williams and Ronnie Brewer combined.
They looked for not just one or two extra passes on Wednesday. One of the most significant possessions of the game involved four in the third quarter — Rondo to Ray Allen, Allen to Kendrick Perkins, Perkins behind the back to Kevin Garnett, Garnett back to Rondo for the lay in.
That sequence was memorable to many, but Rondo is so accustomed to sharing the ball that it was just another trip down the floor for him.
“I don’t even remember the play,” he said. “I think it was like five passes maybe, but I don’t remember how I got there.”
If the Celtics continue to see each other on the court like they did against the Jazz, they will remember how they ended up in the win column throughout the season.