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Doc: I’m not giving up on the team

03.15.10 at 6:39 pm ET
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Peppered with questions about his team’s effort in the final five minutes of Sunday’s double-digit loss in Cleveland, Doc Rivers said he is going to find a way to get better results from his team.

“I don’t care how frustrating it gets for me,” Rivers said before Monday’s game with Detroit. “I see it, and if you see it or not, I see it and I’m going to get it out of you. And that’s what I told them after the game [Sunday]. I don’t know how but I will get it out of you.”

The Celtics were tied with the Cavs at 68 on Sunday before the roof caved in.

“I never mentioned that we didn’t have effort,” Rivers said. “I looked at it, there’s four minutes left in the third quarter, it’s a tie score. So at least at that point, we still had effort. We didn’t sustain our play. We missed a lot of open shots. I don’t think it had a lot to do with effort [Sunday]. I thought the last five minutes did [have to do with effort], when we were down 16 and you could see us giving in.”

“I think it’s an easy thing now when we don’t win, it was effort.”

To Rivers, the story wasn’t the lack of fight the team appeared to show in the final five minutes but how they got there.

“I’m not as worried about that as I am why we got down 16,” the coach said. “I was more concerned with that. They came with a great spirit and wanted to win the game. They had a chance to win the game. Then when it slipped away in their minds, they were disappointed. To me, that’s a human reaction. I can live with that.”

Rivers said the swagger against teams will come back to the Celtics only by results on the court.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to earn for people be afraid of you.’ The first half of the year we did earn that,” Rivers said. “Then I think everybody conveniently forgets the second-half of the year. When we were [23-5], we were completely healthy. We had injuries, we struggled and now we’re trying to get it back.

“It didn’t just go away because the healthy group stop playing, it went away for a good reason. What we’ve failed to do is put it back together yet, and that’s what we’re working on.”

Ultimately – and appropriately with Boston trying to dry out from drenching rains – Rivers is taking a glass half-full approach.

“In some ways, it’s very enjoyable,” Rivers said of this year’s challenge. “I know that sounds crazy. It’s a group where you’ve had to get your hands dirty. Really, you’ve had to dive into this group, push buttons, get on different guys you’d never thought you’d have to. In some ways, that has been very difficult but in some ways, it has been a joyous challenge. This is a very challenging year. I’m excited by it, in a crazy way I am. If you get it right, it will be an unbelievable feeling at the end.”

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