|Doc Rivers has had it with the lineup questions||11.10.12 at 2:11 am ET|
It wasn’t exactly what you would’ve expected after his team lost to the Sixers, 106-100. Doc RIvers was answering questions about what went wrong and toward the end of his five minute session with reporters decided to go off on a tangent about something that was really bugging him.
After the 106-100 loss to the Sixers Friday, Rivers was reminded that before the game he mentioned he might tweak the lineup when the team heads to Milwaukee and Chicago for games Saturday and Monday nights.
“I don’t know,” Rivers said. “We’ll see. We just finished this game so I’m not thinking about it [yet]. I will say this guys, this lineup stuff you talk about, it lasts for four minutes. Then we switch the lineup [with substitutions]. It’s the whole game that matters. I could start everybody on our bench [Saturday in Milwaukee]. You think it’s going to matter at the end of the game? Really, that’s the way I think. Clearly, you guys don’t think that’s way but that’s how I think.”
Rivers started the first two games with a lineup of Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass. In the next three games, including Friday against the Sixers, he started Jared Sullinger in place of Bass.
“I don’t think who starts matters,” Rivers continued. “It’s who plays well, who plays the most minutes. That’s what we’re focused on. I don’t think a guy in our locker room gives a flying crap about who’s starting.
“You have to find the right group. I think we have that. We’re just not playing well. The thing that’s hurting us right now is when Kevin is going off the floor. It happened again tonight. I thought in the second half it was better. Chris Wilcox gave us a lift. But right now, if y’all want to focus on something, that’s what you should focus on, is what are we going to do when Kevin goes off the floor in the first half. Every time we do it, and we have to do it, we’re struggling.
“And that’s on me. I have to figure that out because he’s not going to be on the floor. He’s coming out and he’s coming out at an exact time. We have to figure out something to make us click, and I think it’s on both ends. I don’t think it’s just our defense going down. I think our offense really struggles when he goes out. We have to do something about it.”
Here’s the rest of Rivers’ take on the loss Friday night, including what went wrong in the first half against the Sixers.
“Well, they beat us in transition,” Rivers said. “I think it’s pretty simple. I don’t know exactly what the points were, but whatever it says here (on the box score) it was more in transition. They got a lot of secondary early breaks. And just beat us down the floor and they attacked. And that’s the first part of our defense. It let us down tonight. We scored 100 points and we shot the same as they did. I thought the threes that they made were a big difference, you know? And I thought our missed free throws were huge, too, in this game. I did like a lot of things, honestly. I thought we hung in the game, kind of fought back, but every time we needed a stop tonight, guys, we didn’t get it. Every big time down the floor, we cut it to four, or six, they scored. And they scored on a lot of rolls, a lot of secondary stuff, where we were supposed to be there, and we were not. So we’re working, and we’re just going to continue to do it.”
On Jrue Holiday: “He played great, but I thought Evan Turner played terrific and I thought Thaddeus Young, in a lot of ways, was the difference in the game. I just thought he did a lot of things. I thought in the first half Nick Young got him going, gave him confidence. And then – You know, they’re a young group, and they get confident; they’re hard to turn off. And I thought we never did.”
On how much of losing can he pin on defense: “Overall we have not been a great defensive team. So far this year. We’ve had a couple games where we were. And I thought – like in the Milwaukee game even though they scored points, I thought our offense let us down in that game – but overall I think it’s our defense.”
Did he see improvement in the team’s energy: “Yeah. I saw that. I thought they were great. I thought they competed. I thought, you know, we missed layups; we missed a lot of good things. And you can see the frustration. So that’s human. That kind of stuff doesn’t bother me at all. I know percentages, Kevin (Garnett)’s and Courtney Lee’s and these guys get point-blank looks, they’re going to go in. I’m more concerned with just our foundation defensively and offensively.”
On Jeff Green: “It’s a dilemma, but he’s going to be a good player for us this year. And sooner or later I’m hoping. We’ve just got to unlock him. Right now he’s just absolutely frustrated; you can see it in his play. But that’s on all of us; it’s not just on Jeff. Jeff’s the easy target right now. Jeff’s part of this team, just like everyone else. And we have to do a better job of getting him going. He’s probably got to do a better job of getting himself going.”
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