Doc Rivers (AP)
With their 113-99 victory Wednesday night over the Nuggets, the Celtics improved to 46-25 and are tied with the Hawks for third place in the Eastern Conference, 3½ games behind the second-place Magic.
The morning after Boston’s fifth victory in six games, Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss the recent turnaround in Boston’s play — and how a lot of people forgot just how good the guys in green really were.
“It’s funny, what were we, 23-5 [to start the season], and we were completely healthy,” the coach said. “Paul [Pierce] goes down, Kevin [Garnett] goes down, [Glen Davis] is just coming back, Marquis [Daniels] just goes down, and through that whole streak, it’s amazing how conveniently everybody forgot about that.”
The Celtics are trying to give the league a refresher course before they head into the postseason, though Rivers maintained that playoff seeding isn’t the most important thing on their minds.
“I will say I think health and rest is more important than even the third spot for us,” he said. “I think for us to have a chance to win, we have to be both of those things.”
The Celtics look to continue their recent run of successful basketball when they take the court Friday against the Sacramento Kings.
Below is a transcript. Click here for the full interview.
Nice win last night Doc. My sense is that three weeks ago, that’s probably a game you would have lost.
Three-and-a-half weeks ago, we probably were not the same team we are today, because we’re healthier, Paul’s playing better, Kevin’s playing better, so that may be true. But it’s now, so that’s all I focus on.
So when the lead was 21, then it was reduced to seven, how did you respond to that?
Number one, that happens in games, and you don’t think about it. And number two, we went small. I didn’t want to, but we had to, they were making shots, so we had to match up to then. So I thought that was the turning point for us, at least extending the lead back.
Last week, when you said “we’re close,” what did you mean specifically? And right now, are you there, or are you still just close?
Well, we’re getting closer, obviously I don’t think anybody would say they’re there right now as a team with the playoffs being three weeks away. One thing I saw was Paul was starting to get back in shape, I thought Kevin was rounding out in shape, and guys, it’s funny, what were we, 23-5, and we were completely healthy. Paul goes down, Kevin goes down, [Glen Davis] is just coming back, Marquis [Daniels] just goes down, and through that whole streak, it’s amazing how conveniently everybody forgot about that. And then when we got healthy, Paul wasn’t right yet, Kevin wasn’t right yet, it just took time, we lost our rhythm, we lost our timing, because so many different guys had to play so many different roles when all those guys were out, so there’s no excuse to lose games, but we lost games because of that. And I saw us finally getting back healthy somewhat, I saw our timing coming back, our rhythm coming back, our team play coming back, but that took a toll on us, and it would’ve taken a toll on anybody, and that’s what I saw. (more…)