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Celtics practice what Doc preaches

10.23.10 at 4:08 pm ET
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The Celtics went through a hard practice at Waltham Saturday. This was a different sort of workout than the one they endured Friday, which stretched out past three hours. As the curtain lifted, they were going through a scrimmage, complete with refs and all the intensity you would expect from a regular season game.

“It was the best practice we’€™ve had in a while,” Doc Rivers said. “It was good to see. Following yesterday’€™s fiasco of a practice, I thought today was phenomenal.”

But what really stood out was the sight of Kendrick Perkins, whiteboard in hand, drawing up a play for the second team (usually referred to as the White Team for their jerseys, as opposed to the starters, who wear green). The play was for Von Wafer to come off a back pick, but it didn’t go according to plan.

“We needed a 3 at the time,” coach Perk explained. “We were down six. So I went with a Doc play. We didn’€™t execute it right.”

This whole exercise was by design. It’s something Rivers learned from Mike Fratello when he played for him in Atlanta. “I saw  something during the game,” Rivers said. “We came into the huddle and I said we’€™ve got to run this. We did it and we won the game, but that was the last time he let me do it.”

Rivers has tried this out with his players at various times — Gabe Pruitt called up a game-winner a few years back — and the benefits work both ways.

“You see a lot when you’€™re hurt and on the sidelines,” Perkins said. “You put yourself in the coach’€™s shoes and see what they’€™re going through. I’€™m just trying to install it in my head so when I get in there I won’€™t make the same mistakes.”

“You learn a lot,” Rivers said. “You see what they’€™re thinking. You see who they think should take the shots. Who they think can make plays. What they learn is they get frustrated when guys don’€™t execute. That’€™s how I feel the whole game. It’€™s good learning tool for everybody.”

Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen usually take the honors for the Green Team, Rivers said, while Perkins, Glen Davis and Delonte West often take charge of the White Team. So who calls the best plays?

“Ray,” Rivers said. “Because it’€™s always for him. Rondo and Ray are pretty darn good.” 

NOTES: Rivers all but confirmed that Shaquille O’Neal will be in the starting lineup Tuesday. Jermaine O’Neal has simply missed too much time. “They’€™re both going for it,” Rivers said. “At the end of the day when you decide, they’€™ll be able to live with it. They’€™re going after each other. I love it. It’€™s good for practice.”

As always, there was a lot of talk about the Miami game on Tuesday. Heat guard Mike Miller had surgery to repair a torn ligament and fracture on his right thumb. Miami has reportedly signed Jerry Stackhouse to take his place.

“It happens,” Rivers said. “Listen, we dealt with more injuries than any team last year and we almost got to where we wanted to get. Injuries are going to happen. It’€™s part of the process. That’€™s why you hope you’€™re deep.”

As for the hype surrounding the game, the Celtics won’t be drawn into it. Kevin Garnett was asked what he thought when he saw the celebration that accompanied the signing of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“It was good to see guys make some decisions on what they wanted for themselves,” Garnett said. “It’€™s good for competition. It doesn’€™t go no deeper than that. If you ask some other guys I’€™m sure they’€™ll have a different opinion.”

Read More: Dwyane Wade, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
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