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Rivers on D&C: Transcript
Posted By Matt Noonan On June 21, 2010 @ 1:51 pm In General | No Comments
Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss not only his future as coach of the Celtics but also his reaction to Game 7 of the NBA finals. Said Rivers: “It’s uncomfortable to talk about [this coaching situation] and its uncomfortable where you go where people want to talk about it, so that’s probably why I want to make the decision sooner than later.”
Following is a transcript. To listen to the entire interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page .
Did any [members of your family] put the question to you yesterday: Why don’t you stick around for a year or two?
We didn’t talk about it all, really. We’ve on even brought it up once since the season has been over. It is still very difficult to get though Game 7, let alone talk about your future, if you want to be honest.
You could look us in the eye, if we were face to face, and say you haven’t made a decision yet?
Yeah, I could. I could do that and could do it honestly. I am not going to say which way I am leaning — and I am one way — but I could look you in the eye and say that I have not made a decision. We have only had a small conversation, and we are going to do that in the next week or so.
We have made a list of reasons you should stay or should not. But of all the reasons to go, watching your kids play their sports seems really compelling to me.
Well they are, there is not doubt about that and the only reason you stay is the love for the guys you coach and the organization, Danny [Ainge] and the guys you work for, knowing that if you do leave that your not going to ever get that back. You can get a coaching job back and there’s no doubt about that, but I don’t think I will ever get the situation that I have here in Boston back, so that will be difficult to leave. The other side is so strong as well with the family, and it is going to be an interesting decision and I don’t know what it is yet.
Regrets would come in if Celtics players were to get hurt, such as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
I don’t think that would make you regret it, I think what would make you regret it if there’s a phone call if one of your kids is doing spectacular or not and you’re not there, I think that would be more of a regret. Going through the injury stuff, you are going to go through as a coach regardless. Last year was more than we anticipated. But I wouldn’t have any regrets that way.
Did you always plan on having a year off, two years off? Was this sabbatical always in the plans?
No, but it became in the plans. A couple of years ago, the more you thought about it, the more you thought about it, it was a good thing to do. Teachers take sabbaticals to freshen their brains or minds and their outlook. I think it is a healthy thing, I just don’t know when you do it.
Do you feel guilty when you miss things at home?
Yes. Very. Every father, mother, parent does. Anything involving your family if your not there, anytime your wife has to make a decision when you are not there that’s a difficult one, you feel guilty.
Have you looked at the tape from Game 7?
I’ve looked at some of it. I couldn’t watch it, a lot of it. It’s very difficult.
Do you have to watch the game film or can you run it through your mind?
You can run it in your mind. I did watch the fourth quarter over again and unfortunately it was the same result.
What do you regret most? Were there one or two decisions that may have reversed the outcome?
Yeah, it always is as you watch it as a coach. You look at things you look back on and I think I should have given [Rajon] Rondo another blow. I thought he was tired. I thought he played that way in the fourth [quarter] and that was a tough one because he was starting to play well at that middle of the third [quarter] and it was tough to pull him out. So that is easy to say now, obviously.
We did call some post plays and the ball never ended up there. Having said thats watching the game again in the fourth, watching Kevin [Garnett] and Rasheed [Wallace] running up and down the floor, I don’t know what we would have gotten out of the post, but I just thought that was the area that we stopped attacking and we probably should have continued doing it back there.
This was how you visualized the game being called? Is that fair to say?
I would say three quarters. The game was called tighter. There was no doubt about that after watching and that hurt us, a lot. Because the fouls and the foul shots — they scored 30 points and you are looking at it after the game, when you are looking at a raw stat sheet, your first thought is, wow, we gave up 30 points in the fourth quarter and then when you watch it again, you see all these free throws, it was just a free throw line parade. That is the one line you can’t defend and so we were never allowed to defend that because they were on the free throw line too much.
Did you ever consider relieving Ray Allen for covering Kobe Bryant?
We did a little bit. If you noticed in the game, Paul [Pierce] did guard Kobe [Bryant] some because we were just trying to relieve Ray [Allen] of the press of guarding Kobe. Kobe didn’t shoot the ball well, but he [was] extremely aggressive and that takes its toll on a player, which is very similar to what it did to Paul in the Cleveland series [guarding LeBron James]. I do think that hurt Ray a little bit. I thought you could see his legs — I thought everyone’s legs were spent.
If I could do the whole series over again, I would have changed the format where we would have had an extra day to fly in on that first day that we played them and that hurt us as much as anything in some ways. Watching the game again that lose the fourth quarter again, just watching us move in the fourth, you could sense that early watching it live, I used that time out at the nine and a half minute mark, it was more of a rest time out, which we don’t have to do very often, but you could just feel we were running out of gas.
What was the difference for the Lakers in that game? Was it Kobe? Was it Ron Artest?
It was [Ron] Artest. It was clearly Artest. We didn’t defend him the way we should have defended him. We were helping off of him more than we were supposed to. And he made shots. You have to give him credit, he made shots and he was aggressive. I thought Ron Artest was the difference in that game. Kobe, you know when you go into a Game 7, you have to account for Kobe being Kobe, [Pau] Gasol being Gasol, but you got to shut down all their other guys, you can’t let one of their other guys get into the teens or the 20s, and that was what Artest did.
Getting offensive rebounds just destroyed us. I thought the stretch early in the game gave them life. It was the first-quarter rebounds. I just thought it gave them a sense that they could pound us on the glass all night and that’s basically what they did.
Was that a function of [Kendrick Perkins'] absence?
I thought it was some of that. I thought it was missing Perk; he is a better rebounder than Rasheed is, physically, as far as knocking some guys out and kicking them around. I thought that probably hurt Kevin a little bit not having Perk there on the glass. So, it’s mostly that and our guards didn’t rebound the way they had all series and so I thought it was a combination of both.
Have we seen the last of Rasheed Wallace?
I think you have. I think it is so emotional right after the game, but Rasheed told me before the game, he told me the night before, he walked up to me and said, “Hey, listen, I am going to give you everything I’ve got. I really believe this is my last game that I’m going to play.” And, you know, he said that this year was very difficult for him physically. He just never felt like even the condition part of it hurt. He doesn’t think he wants to go through that again and he wants to watch his kids, so, I do think its his last time [we see him in a Celtics uniform].
Does Ray Allen or Paul Pierce’s decision have any bearing on your decision?
I just am going to make my decision hopefully before they make theirs, so that has no barring on it. I think Ray wants to come back. I think Paul wants to come back. Whether Paul opts out or not, we will figure that out. And then Ray, I just think we’ve just got to go through the process and then tried to get him signed back.
Are Paul Pierce and Ray Allen talking to you? Are these guys working on you?
Yeah. There is no doubt about that. I am getting a lot of texts from them and calls from them right now, so that makes you feel good, I’ll tell you that. You have a group of guys that want to go to battle with you and that makes you feel great.
Isn’t it like a dream of a coach? Did you envision that you would have this treatment?
I don’t think you would ever envision, you really don’t want it, if you want to be honest. You want the players to play for you, but you don’t want the attention. You know how I feel about coaches getting attention. … You just should keep the focus on the players, I am all for that, personally. It’s uncomfortable to talk about and its uncomfortable where you go where people want to talk about it, so that’s probably why I want to make the decision sooner than later.
Is Danny asking for a time frame or are you offering one to him?
No, he has been great. He told me, go away, go on a golf course, just go enjoy your life for a couple of days and that’s what I am going to do.
If you do indeed decide to resign from the Celtics, would you not do anything except be a dad and sports fan for a year or two?
I would probably work, but I wouldn’t do the full job that some of these guys you see two, three times a week. If I had to do that, I wouldn’t. That is just too much. The reason I am getting away is to be with the family, so the only way I would kind of do it is if I could create my schedule, which may not be allowed, so that’s probably true then I’d stay home.
You are good at drawing up fourth-quarter plays. Why does that not apply to the other quarters?
I will tell you the honest answer: Because we failed in that area. It’s an area that has bugged me the last two years. It did. It was just something our guys never found or realized how important it is. We would try to drill it to them with those six points a game that we gave up — or nine — and it was almost like it was 15 seconds, the ball would either stay in Rondo’s hands or he would take a 3, or Paul’s hands. When we did execute stuff, that was when I called timeouts, then we had a better chance at it. I always wrestled personally with if you call a timeout if you’ve got the matchups you want on the floor or if you allowed the other team to match up. That was an area that I thought we never got right this year.
Did you feel confident heading into those final two games?
Very confident. In a strange way, I was far more confident in Game 7 than I was in Game 6, just looking at the urgency of our guys. You don’t get do-overs. And I wish our guys as a group had the same urgency in Game 6 that they did in Game 7. Because I thought Game 6 the Lakers were ready to break, and by allowing them to win, they won Game 6, then you knew whoever won Game 7 was going to have to take it, but both teams would be up for the challenge. I thought we let the opportunity go in Game 6. So, that was the only thing I would say between those two games.
Why was this a difficult season?
It was just difficult. It was a difficult season with the injuries. We got out to such a great start and had such great promise, and then when all the injuries went down and different guys had to step up and then getting guys back into their roles, you know, that’s not easy. Playing guys injured and playing them as THE player when you know they are not ready, but you understand that the only way we are going to get our timing back for the playoffs is by doing that and when the other guys were thinking, “Hey, I could do that right now,” and they were right. In trying to sell that to your team, its tough. It was just one of those type of years.
I thought my staff — [Tom Thibodeau] and Armond [Hill] and Kevin [Eastman] and Mike [Longabardi], all the guys, I thought they did a good job of not only keeping the guys focused but me focused on the big picture. We talked about it all the time: Every decision that is made is made for the best of the team for the whole season, not for an individual game. I wrote that at the beginning of the season, and I thought my staff did a terrific job of reminding me of that statement. And I thought that was really key for us to get through that whole stretch.
What happens if you play Phoenix in the finals — what happens to the 2,600 bucks up in the ceiling [of the Staples Center].
We had figured out that Shelden Williams was going to tell his wife, Candace [Parker, of the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA team], because they play in that arena. So, we were concerned that Shelden had already gotten it.
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