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Rivers on D&C: ‘We deserved’ boos

03.11.10 at 9:53 am ET
By
Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Celtics’ embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies the night before (listen to the interview here).

Asked if his team quit, Rivers said it didn’t start out that way, but that’s how it ended up. “I thought they gave in as the game went on. Yeah, there’s no doubt, you can call it ‘quit’ or whatever,” Rivers said. “But I don’t think they mailed it in when they showed up. If you look at the first eight minutes of that game, I thought we competed. We missed every shot, every wide-open shot. … When things went bad, I didn’t think we had a lot of resolve to fight it last night, and that was obvious, But when you watch the beginning of the game, the ball was moving. We missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot after wide-open shot. … What bothered me about it was as we missed shots we hung our heads more and more.” Added Rivers: “On the [defensive] end is where the breakdowns came. As the game got worse, our fight got less, and that bothers me.”

Rivers said he was most disturbed by the fact that at halftime the Grizzlies had a much higher shooting percentage than the Celtics and, on top of that, managed to get more offensive rebounds in fewer opportunities. “That’s an effort category for us,” Rivers said. “And clearly, it didn’t show.”

Rivers said his team earned the boos that rained down upon them from the TD Garden crowd. “Yeah, that was pretty good, and we deserved it,” he said. “Listen, I’m not a fan of booing anything. … But that was frustrating for the fans as well. I always think you support your team good or bad, but last night was so bad — and it’s rare where I’d say this — I had no problem with it at all.”

Asked if there was an explanation for the team’s home woes, Rivers said: “No, there isn’t. That’s a tough one to explain. We have played at times — we’ve been more comfortable on the road, which is unusual. … We just haven’t played well, bottom line.”

Asked if he planned a display of anger, such as breaking a clipboard, to inspire his team, Rivers said he would only do so if needed, downplaying its impact. “Listen, that is so overrated it’s ridiculous,” he said.

Rivers said the team is focused on getting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett healthy and back into the flow of things before the playoffs roll around. “We have 19 games to get them right. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “Our best players have to be great for us to be a great team. And we have to figure out over these next [19] games whatever the best way is to get them there. If that means sitting them down for two weeks, we’ll do that. If that means playing them even though they may not play well, and maybe struggle through it, but get them more rhythm, then we’re going to do that. … That’s the key to our season. We have to get them right.”

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