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Doc Rivers rolls the dice with Rajon Rondo and gets away with one

Posted By Mike Petraglia On December 13, 2012 @ 1:55 am In General | 3 Comments

The final box score Wednesday night reads that Rajon Rondo [1] played 52 minutes, 30 seconds of the 58 minutes of Boston’s 117-115 double-overtime win over Dallas.

Doc Rivers [2] said he could see Rondo’s minutes getting up there, especially toward the end of regulation and gambled by leaving him in the game, hoping the Celtics [3] could hold onto their lead with four minutes left.

‘€œWell I thought we started walking the ball up the floor,” Rivers said. “I thought our tempo changed in the fourth quarter. You know, it’€™s funny: they went small, we went small, you would think your tempo would increase. We actually went the other way. I thought the biggest mistake I made, actually, is keeping Rondo in that long.

“I thought I took the gamble, and sometimes it’€™s a good one sometimes it’€™s a bad one and I didn’€™t think this was a good one. I just thought he got tired. You know, I didn’€™t give them that normal rest two minutes before the fourth and let him get some rest. I mean obviously I didn’€™t anticipate a double overtime game. But I thought that had an impact on him and on his speed in the game. I told our guys with like four minutes left ‘€“ my coaches, because then it was too late ‘€“ I said, ‘€˜This was not a good decision.’€™ And that decision could’€™ve hurt us.’€

But it didn’t cost the Celtics – in part – because Rondo and the Celtics forced 28 turnovers against the Mavericks, leading to 34 points.

‘€œWell, we’€™ve been trapping,” Rivers said. “I’€™ve been talking about it a lot and over the past seven games it’€™s been paying dividends for us. It’€™s been terrific. I told our guys, we also broke our own record with deflections. So we had ‘€“ I don’€™t know what the number was now ‘€“ but we had 100 deflections it felt like, we had 27 turnovers, because we couldn’€™t make a shot.

“You know, I didn’€™t like our shots that we got down the stretch. But overall we had a lot of good shots and they just wasn’€™t going in. So we won a game where a team shot 51 percent, and the other team, us, shot 43 percent. That was happening to us earlier in the year if you remember; we lost a couple games where it was the exact opposite. So, when you get more possessions like that, you give yourself a chance to win the game. I told the guys I was proud of them; I thought we made some mistakes that later in the year we can’€™t make down the stretch of games: the foul to give, didn’€™t call a time out, pass the ball so we couldn’€™t advance it before the first overtime. Those are plays that can’€™t happen. But through all those mistakes we still won the game, so as a coach we’€™ll take that.’€

Kevin Garnett [4] had 40 minutes himself in the marathon.

‘€œHe held up, and fortunately we are taking [Thursday] off,” Rivers said. “Whenever you have an 8 o’clock game you’€™re taking the day off anyway. So, you know, I don’€™t want that but it had to happen tonight.’€


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URLs in this post:

[1] Rajon Rondo: http://media.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm

[2] Doc Rivers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/doc-rivers.htm

[3] Celtics: http://media.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[4] Kevin Garnett: http://media.weei.com/basketball/kevin-garnett.htm

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