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Tom Thibodeau on D&C: Celtics are winning because of confidence, intensity

05.23.12 at 10:29 am ET
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Tom Thibodeau is gone from Boston but his intense defense remains. (AP)

Appearing on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said the Celtics are in good position to record another finals appearance thanks to an intensity that is helping defensive pressure. He also said health, confidence, intensity, Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo have been contributing to Boston’s success.

“Right at the start of the game you could see the intensity in the Celtics and I thought they were so aggressive and I think that’s part of their understanding of how important that game was,” said Thibodeau, a former Celtics assistant. “And you know the one thing, the one thing that they’ve done well, they’ve gotten into the Sixers pretty well. The Sixers, during the course of the season, rarely turned the ball over and [the Celtics have] been able to force turnovers against them and they’ve also kept their own turnovers now, which I think is a huge plus for them.

“I think the intensity of the defense dictates a lot. And if you can get some easy baskets off your defense than that can allow you to go on a quick run.”

Thibodeau also said confidence has been a large factor in Boston’s success this postseason.

“You have two teams that are extremely well-balanced, basically slugging it out, and I think the Celtics right now are playing with a lot of confidence,” he said.

Confidence and intensity may be two of the biggest assets the Celtics have at the moment, but Thibodeau added staying healthy is the biggest key.

“Well, the Celtics have everything that you need,” Thibodeau said. “The biggest thing is going to be health, and you guys already hit on that. How healthy can they be? That goes for everybody, and things can change quickly.”

Thibodeau added that all the Celtics need is for the core to remain healthy and they can succeed in the playoffs.

“Doc’s done a great job of managing that team and getting through things, but the big thing is with Rajon and Kevin [Garnett] playing the way they are and if Paul [Pierce] gets healthier as they go along, and of course Ray [Allen], that’s the core of the championship team,” Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau mentioned how instrumental Garnett and Pierce are to the Celtics, but the coach elaborated on Rondo’s role with the team.

“And then Rondo’s Rondo. The thing is Rondo has the ability to make everyone on the court a lot better. And he’s done that,” he said.

Thibodeau also touched on Rivers’ decision last offseason to return to Boston.

“I wasn’t surprised that he stayed. I thought he was wrestling with a lot of things, big things, his kid, his family and that sort of thing, but I also knew how much he loved that team and that organization and I thought at the end of the day it would be very difficult to walk away. He’s invested so much of his time with that team.”

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo
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