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Rivers: Why would they change?

05.14.09 at 1:26 pm ET

ORLANDO – Dwight Howard called for more touches following his team’s collapse in Game 5 in Boston. Then he met with his coach to apologize for publicly ripping him.

Now he’s guaranteeing a magical comeback against the Celtics.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday morning that while the story gives everyone covering the series and fans plenty to talk about, there’s something everyone’s forgetting.

Why would the Magic suddenly change a game plan that produced a 28-point lead in a Game 1 win, a 21-point win in Game 3, fourth-quarter leads in Games  4 and 5 only to have the Celtics stun them in both. 

So, all due respect to Howard, Rivers believes Van Gundy and his staff have done quite the job preparing his team for the series.

“I thought they had a big lead in the last game doing what they’re doing. Why would they change?,” Rivers asked on Thursday morning. “They had a lead at the end of the game in Game 4. They had a big lead in Game 1, they’ve had a big lead in Game 5 doing what they’re doing. I don’t expect them to go change their whole system from one statement. If they do, probably good for us.”

Rivers offered his perspective on the now-famous “our coach has to recognize” utterances from Howard.

“I just think you always move on, either way,” Rivers said. “It is an emotional game. Personally, I hate it when a player does it or when we coaches do it but it does happen. People don’t realize how emotional this game is. I’ve always thought the worst time in the world to interview any athlete or player is right after a game.”

Rivers said he will intentionally avoid talking with players or coaches about the game in detail until the next day.

“It’s funny with Danny (Ainge) and my (coaches), I always tell them let’s meet the next day,” Rivers said. “I don’t want to meet with anyone after a game because you’re emotional. Usually when you watch the film, the film tells the true story, more than any image you have in your head at the time.”

Rivers is not expecting the Magic to crumble just because their superstar spoke out.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Rivers said. “I really don’t. At the moment it was big. It gave us all something to talk about but once you fly back and watch film and get together, you’re back together. You go through too much to let one word or one statement split up a team. We’re too tight for that, Orlando is too tight for that. That’s not going to happen.”

Rajon Rondo had a slightly different take.

“They could go apart, it doesn’t matter,” Rondo said. “We’ve got to go out there and do what we have to do and execute on the offensive and defensive part of the floor.”

Some other notes from Thursday morning shootaround at Amway Arena: Kendrick Perkins said his left shoulder came through Game 5 fine and he will be ready for tonight. … Paul Pierce declined to talk Thursday morning, keeping to a ritual of not talking pregame on the day of a game when the team won the game before.

Read More: Celtics, Dwight Howard, Magic, NBA playoffs
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