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Doc: C’s ‘lean back too far on what they’ve done’

02.08.10 at 5:31 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Like everyone else, Doc Rivers has had his fill of his players saying they’re better than what they’ve been showing on the court of late.

‘€œI think when you have a veteran team, there are several pitfalls,” Rivers said following practice Monday. “One, you’€™re a veteran team. Two, we’€™ll turn it on. I don’€™t buy into that, never have. Three, leaning back on your past success. Your past success is no guarantee to future success. I think this team leans back too far on what they’€™ve done and we have to get to work on what we’€™re going to do and I think that’€™s what we have to do a better job of.’€

[Click here to hear Doc talk about his team.]

In the words of a famous football coach who coached the Patriots in the 1990s, ‘You are what your record says you are.’  For the Celtics, a 32-17 mark is good for third in the East behind Cleveland and Orlando.

He paraphrased Bill Parcells for his players on Monday before, during and after a practice.

‘€œEnough with the talk,” Rivers said. “That’€™s basically it. I had a Conga line in my office today. That’€™s great, though. Guys want to do the right thing. I don’€™t think we have bad guys on our team, I know we don’€™t. But we have to do [right things]. All we keep talking, ‘€˜You’€™re right and we’€™re going to do it,’€™ but we’€™re not doing it. That’€™s what we have to do.’€

Monday was a good first step in a process that figures more like a grind as the team faces road games in the next two weeks against the Hornets, Lakers, Trail Blazers and Nuggets.

‘€œThey responded with a great practice so that’€™s good,” Rivers said. “But we have to, we have to get back to work, that workman’€™s mentality. We have to get back to wanting to be the best defensive team in the NBA. We have to get back to executing better. We can’€™t just rely on guys coming back off injury. That has thrown us off a little bit because of lack of practice time and all that, but I think that’€™s becoming an excuse around here.

‘€œSo we’€™re not going to allow that and we can’€™t allow that. And right now, I was just being honest, right now we’€™re not better than the Magic and we’€™re not better than the Lakers. That doesn’€™t mean we can’€™t be by the end of the year but at this point, right now, they’€™re better than us. If we’€™re trying to win a championship, that’€™s not good enough.’€

Sunday’s nightmarish third quarter against Orlando that led to a costly 96-89 loss at the hands of the Magic was still fresh in the minds of players, coaches and staff on Monday.

‘€œIt isn’€™t one glaring thing we’€™re not doing,” Rivers said. “We watched film today. There’€™s so many little things on both ends of the floor. When we need a stop, we’€™re not getting stops. When we need a basket, we’€™re not getting baskets. But it’€™s not as simple as I just said it. It’€™s execution things. It’€™s things we know we can do but we haven’€™t done them so that means we don’€™t know we can do them and we have to work on them.

‘€œWe had a really good day today but we just have to keep working. One day isn’€™t going to turn anything around.’€

Rivers believes the upcoming trip through New Orleans, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Portland and Denver is just what his struggling team needs right now.

‘€œI’€™m looking forward to this road trip,” he added. “I think we’€™ll know a lot about our team. I thought that earlier in the year, that this road trip will tell us a lot about who we really are. It’€™s a tough road trip. There are some tough teams on this road trip. I’€™m really looking forward to it.

‘€œYou find yourself on the road, you don’€™t find yourself at home. You should win at home. But you’€™re forced to gather when you’€™re on the road. You’€™re on the buses, you’€™re on the planes. You go out to dinner as a group a lot. So, road trips in a lot of ways are good except for they’€™re tough games to win. I just think this is a good road trip for us, especially at this time, when we’€™re not playing well. I think when you’€™re not playing well, you need to be together. When you’€™re at home, you’€™re not together, you’€™re with your families. When you’€™re on the road, your team is your family.’€

Part of the the family was celebrating on Monday as Glen Davis, a former star at Louisiana State, was bragging and chanting ‘Who Dat?’ after his Saints won Super Bowl XLIV.

‘€œGlen’€™s always tough to deal with,” Rivers said. “It’€™s no different. When he gets going now, we just talk about LSU basketball, that shuts him up pretty quickly. But he’€™s happy, he should be. That’€™s a big win for that whole area, not just New Orleans. That’€™s a great win for them. That’€™s nice to see.’€

LSU basketball, by the way, is 9-14 overall and 0-9 in SEC play this year. Sorry, Glen.

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