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Doc Rivers on D&C: Paul Pierce’s injury not enough to prevent All-Star appearance

02.15.11 at 11:41 am ET
By

Doc Rivers (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning for his weekly appearance, two days earlier than usual because of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.

Rivers said the Celtics are searching outside the organization for help as injuries have left the team shorthanded.

“We’re looking. I can tell you that,” he said. “We’re not going to do anything, obviously, that just takes away from our team. But we’re looking pretty hard. Obviously, there’s not a lot out there right now. But as the deadline gets closer, we’re hoping some things open up.”

As for the team’s biggest need, he said: “Depending on what happens with Marquis [Daniels], I would say that’s our biggest need right now, the backup 3.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Based on the fact that your main concern for your basketball team going into the second half is your health and your freshness and those things that you need for them to play with energy when it comes to the playoffs … wouldn’t it be better for Paul Pierce to stay home on All-Star weekend, catch his breath and regroup for the second half of the season?

It depends on how serious it is. I don’t think it’s as serious as it’s made out to be. He was concerned more just because it was hurting, but it’s not even as close to as bad as we thought it could be. I think we’re overreacting a little bit on this one.

You’re going to keep an eye on their minutes, right?

I’m going to keep an eye on all of their minutes. I think [Rajon] Rondo will probably play the most, him or Ray [Allen], because Ray loves playing. He is perfect in those games, obviously. Other than that, I’m going to play LeBron [James] and Dwyane [Wade] probably 47-48 minutes, in that area.

How will they get along? Clearly Rondo got under their skin Sunday, you guys as a team got under their skin and maybe in their heads a little bit.  Is that all forgotten Sunday in LA?

It usually is. I don’t know if they got under their skin or not, but they pestered them, especially Rondo, but that’s just in that single game. Athletes have a great way of kind of getting over it and moving on.

Can you give us the details of how the process happens of Rondo guarding LeBron James? How did that take shape?

Well, it just took shape, honestly. At halftime Rondo was really just concerned about getting Paul and Kevin [Garnett] and Ray going. The only thing I told Rondo, “Listen I don’t know if they have it tonight or not, but we need your energy, and your energy will lead us.” Then we just talked about picking the ball up. We thought we were allowing them to bring the ball up with no pressure. Rondo took that upon himself to pressure whoever brought the ball up. Now, once you cross half court the original plan was for him to switch back and go to his guy. But he stayed on him, and once he did you could see what it was doing to their team. They spent so much time trying to attack that matchup in that quarter that it took them out of their natural rhythm.

Why not do it every time LeBron takes the ball up?

They’ll be prepared for it. He’ll create fouls. LeBron’s tough. He’s a tough guy to guard and we got away with it that game. You can do it at times and we will but a steady diet of that over the long haul would probably cause you more problems.

When Rondo went into the Heat huddle, I thought it was a bit of a weaselly move. Did you say anything to Rondo?

I did at the time and I did later. I didn’t make a big deal of it because I didn’t think it was a big deal. In some ways he was right. It wasn’t an official timeout, so he had the right to be there. The point he was making was, “Why are they meeting? There’s no timeout here.” He was right, and that tells you about Rondo’s IQ. Him and both coaching staffs were probably the only ones who actually knew that in that case he was right with the rule. I told him, “We still don’t need to do that. we don’t need that.”

They’re all going to get along? Garnett will get along with Dwight Howard and Wade and [Chris] Bosh?

Kevin and Rondo don’t really like anybody on other teams. It’s funny how Rondo has adopted Kevin’s belief that you shouldn’t like your opponent. So, they’ll do their talking — I jokingly call it ‘hugging and hating’ at the same time — but it won’t be a love-fest, I guarantee you that.  But they’re great. The last [All-Star] Game I did, that was one of the things I looked for. And you could see, they all laugh. I’m amazed at that. They do get along for that game. And then right when they leave the locker room, it’s, “Let’s go get ‘em again.”

You were one of the nicest guys in the league, Doc, when you played — to the media, to the players — would you have been better or more effective if you were angrier?

I don’t know. You know, once the game started I was not a pleasant guy. I think I had the ability to separate. After the game I was nice, nice to the media. But during the game I think players would say — I don’t think they’d call me dirty — but they said I was chippy. I think you can do both. I think it’s just who you are naturally. I think some guys need to muster up stuff. Michael Jordan in a lot of ways was like that. He’d read newspapers and anything he could find to get his motor going.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Paul Pierce
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