Armond Hill: ‘What would happen if [Doc Rivers] gets thrown out’
|10.17.12 at 1:32 am ET|
When the second half began Tuesday night, Doc Rivers was no where to be found on the Celtics bench. As it turned out, there was no medical emergency. It was all pre-planned. Rivers told his longtime assistant Armond Hill he would be taking the reins in the second half. Why?
“He just came to me and said, ‘Armond, you’re coaching the second half.’ He’s always said that as much as players are in training camp, so are the coaches. And so what would happen if he gets thrown out, something like that?”
Rivers actually joked with reporters before the 97-96 preseason loss to the Nets at TD Garden that everyone should go home by nine o’clock in order to watch the debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. As it turned out, Rivers was in the locker room right about the same time as the debate began. But Hill insisted Rivers was actually watching the Celtics game since he knew every detail of what was going on in the game, including the Celtics losing a nine-point lead with 3:16 left in the fourth quarter.
“I can only thank Doc for giving me the opportunity to coach,” Hill said. “That’s what we’re all here for. He’s taught me and I’ve been with him and he continues to teach me and he’s given me another opportunity.
“As far as at the end, I put all the guys in and I didn’t have any point guards in. But, once I explained that Courtney [Courtney Lee] was cramping up a little bit, he understood. So we just played them. But we still had chances and I thought we shot quick, too quick, when we had a seven-and eight-point lead. But it’s all a learning experience.”
Here are other postgame notes from Hill following Boston’s 97-96 loss:
On whether Hill was he tempted to put “core” players in at the end: “Yes, and they were all in my ear saying that they want to go in. But you know, you want to give guys a chance; you want to give guys an opportunity to learn the pressure. And the game was theirs to have. But Jeff (Green) wanted to go in, couple guys, you know, but we just kept those guys.”
On the minutes of Rajon Rondo and other starters: “Well, Doc was, as far as the game plan, wanted us to go to [Kevin Garnett] early in the second half. Then when KG goes out go to [Paul Pierce] and keep [Rajon Rondo] in the mix. He wanted to play Rondo a little bit in the fourth quarter and Rondo was begging for more time. But we said two-to-five minutes and he played five minutes. (Jared) Sullinger just continues to get better. He’s learning. He plays very well. He understands the game. And so I thought his minutes were good.”
On match-ups for Jared Sullinger: “It’s, again, every day for him is a new day and it’s a learning experience. And he’s going to have to learn how to guard. You know the other day, I asked him about guarding shooting fours, where he had to chase the fours, and today he had to learn how to defend a guy in the post, and he had to learn how to tangle with a guy who’s very physical. And you can see, he knows how to play.”
On the play of Jason Collins: “He’s a solid pro, first-off. When he comes out there he’s going to rebound, he’s going to set picks. He understands the plays, he knows all the plays already. So he’s a guy you don’t have to call anything for, but he’s going to do all the little things. He’s going to do all the dirty work, really. So, he’s valuable. The reason why he played so much again was because Darko (Milicic) wasn’t out there. So that was another reason.”
On seeing the regular-season team: “I don’t know. Doc wanted to play that unit. What he’s been doing is he’s been experimenting with different units and so tonight it was this unit. What he’s going to do the next day, I don’t know. He’s trying to see all the pieces that we have and all the combinations. And I think that’s what he’s working on. But I do believe he’s slowly getting to a unit that we’d like to start the game with.”