On Thursday Celtics head coach Doc Rivers dropped in on ESPN’s ‘Pardon the Interruption‘ to talk NBA Finals, Kevin Garnett, and the possibility of trades looking ahead to next season.
PTI: You were in the same situation last year that the Lakers are now. Up 2-1 and you won Game 4 and won the series, so how important is this game to the Lakers?
Rivers: Well it’s important to the Lakers. I think it’s more important to the Magic, obviously. You know the Lakers are looking at this, they would clearly like to win the next two games, but they’re thinking if they win one, they go back home with six and seven to win one, so for them that’s the way they’re thinking. Obviously for Orlando, they just have to try to hold serve at home. I’ve always thought, and I still believe, it’s a disadvantage they have three games in a row at home because when teams are evenly matched, it’s tough to win three games in a row anywhere. And so I do think it’s tougher on Orlando in that way.
PTI: Alright Doc, when all is said and done who do you think is going to win this series and the NBA Championship?
Rivers: You know, I hope neither one wins. I would just like to table it for next year. (Smiles) But now that I know that that can’t happen, I think being in the East, you’re always cheering for the East Coast teams. You don’t want the West to win anything. Having said that, I think the Lakers are the favorite. I just think they’re just so talented and they’ve been there before, so you’ve got to make them the favorite in this series.
PTI: Now let me ask you the hypothetical question that maybe you just alluded to with the beginning of that answer. If Kevin Garnett had not gotten injured, did you like your chances to repeat this year?
Rivers: Yeah I did, but he was and that’s part of the game and so I accept that. There’s times when you watch and you wish you could have had the opportunity to compete with a healthy basketball team. But guys, as you know in sports, injuries are absolutely part of the season and it happens and unfortunately it happens for us. And so to me the two best teams right now are Orlando and the Lakers and they deserve to be there. Next year we hope that’s a different story.
PTI: Doc, Kevin Garnett just had successful surgery and I know you’re hoping he’s going to be back for at least 75 or more games next year. But how did you feel about this guarantee that he was going to be able to lead the Celtics to another title. Is that a check you guys can cash?
Rivers: I love it. (Laughs) I love it. I hope he’s right. I hope it’s not a Patrick Ewing guarantee ‘ I lived through those. No, I love it. I love when players are confident. I think Kevin believes that, he wants that to happen, and so do we. And to me it’s good. I like when players start guaranteeing things. I like it more when they back it up and I’m hoping Kevin can do that.
PTI: I’m just thinking about two summers ago when you guys had the blockbuster move that kept talk radio and our show going for weeks. Are you and Danny (Ainge) plotting anything like that this summer? Do you see your personnel needing to be shuffled in that way?
Rivers: No I don’t, but we’ve got a huge trade we’re going to announce. I’m just joking. There’s no trade coming. (Laughs) No, no we’re good. I like who we are. I think we do have to add some length to our basketball team as well, especially with Leon Powe maybe not coming back for at least til midseason or later. We’ve got to add one more big to our team. Other than that, I love our basketball team, I love our guys, and I think we’ll be in great shape next year.