Celtics  coach Doc Rivers  joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to discuss his team’s 103-71 blowout loss to the Sixers, his reported relationship troubles with Rajon Rondo , and the outlook for the rest of the season.
This lockout-shortened season has been mediocre at best for the 20-18 Celtics, who, after Wednesday’s loss, remain seventh in the conference. Wednesday’s loss marked a definitive low point, as the Celtics had a chance to take over the top-spot in the Atlantic Division against a Sixers team that lost eight of its last 10. Instead, Boston never stood a chance. The 32-point blowout was the worst of the Big Three era, and the 71-point effort matched a season-low in total points. The Celtics also did not make a single three-pointer, going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc in the worst three-point performance since an 0-for-10 showing against the Utah Jazz  on Dec. 21, 2005.
“Two stats [stand out], really,” Rivers said. “The ‘0’ stands out and the eight. We usually take more threes, number one, and we usually make a couple. What’s amazing, the first half, that’s when I was concerned because we were getting really good shots, open shots and everything was front-rim, so you just knew it was going to be one of those nights.”
The schedule only gets worse for the Celtics, who will play one game at home before embarking on an eight-game, 12-day road trip. Rivers said the road trip will be especially difficult for his team, as they are older and not in typical form after the lockout altered their preseason preparation. Rivers admitted that he underestimated how much the lockout would affect the team, and said he thinks some of the results of the lockout are manifesting in his team’s play.
“I underestimated a couple of things,” Rivers said. “Number one, the lack of practice time, how that all was going to affect us and every team. And you know, one thing we didn’t do where some teams did, I don’t think all of our guys came in to the beginning of camp in great shape. And I thought when you’re an older team and you’re not in great shape and you don’t have a lot of time to get in shape, I thought that really affected us.”
In spite of the many issues currently facing the Celtics, Rivers said a reported personnel feud between Rondo and him is a non-factor. Rivers denied any personal problem with Rondo despite reports from multiple media members to the contrary.
“We have had arguments,” River said. “So have Paul [Pierce] and I. … You don’t get along all the time. But when it becomes personal is when I think you have a personality clash. Our personal relationship is very good. So it keeps coming up and I guess it will. I don’t know why.”
Following are more highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. On Rondo raising his game in nationally televised games like he did against the Knicks: “You want him to play that way all the time. And you just want him to be more consistent. But you know, I keep going back to this, he’s become more consistent each year. That’s what you want out of a player. ‘¦ You want him to be great-great and great-great players are great all the time.
“Honestly, I think, if anything, [it was] Jeremy Lin . There was a lot of talk. And I thought the Knicks too. The Knicks were kind of sticking their chests out a little bit because they were kind of making a run and challenging. So I thought it was a perfect storm for not only Rondo, but for our team.”
On whether the Sixers game was one in which he foresaw the Celtics losing: “Yeah it was, but you know as a coach you’re still hoping and you’re hoping, my thought going into the game last night was I hope we can get to the fourth quarter, and that was the thought. You can feel it in the locker room, you can just see it on the bus, and the plane is quiet, you know that guys are tired.
“I just told them to keep pushing, let’s see what we can do. At halftime, let’s see how quick we can cut this lead. But you could see it wasn’t going to happen.”
On whether he was upset with his team’s work ethic during the lockout: “With the lockout, I think you and me and Dale [Arnold] and everyone else at some point thought that the lockout was going to last a little longer or not have a season at one point. So I thought guys worked out, I know a couple of the veterans told me they worked out, they were working out great and then when the de-certification happened, they thought, ‘Oh well, I’m going to stop because it looks like we’re not going to have a season, and then within two weeks there’s a season, three weeks there’s a season. So there’s nothing you can do about that.”
On the upcoming trade deadline: “I don’t expect anything big to come down. I would be shocked if nothing came down, to be honest. … There’s a lot of ways to make a trade at the deadline. Sometimes just to give your team hope, sometimes when you don’t make a trade, it tells your team we’re not doing anything and this is the way we think this team is good enough to win. So it’s just, sometimes trades are aesthetic and sometimes they’re meant for other reasons, and I think there’s a lot of ways to use it.”