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Doc Rivers: Rajon Rondo ‘really’ wants spot on All-Star Team

01.17.13 at 10:30 am ET
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Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show, the morning after the Celtics had their season-best six-game winning streak snapped at TD Garden in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets, who entered the game with a 12-26 record on the season.

“I thought we dropped our guard with the way we practiced the day before,” Rivers said when asked if he thought the Celtics were overconfident against the struggling Hornets. “I thought we were very relaxed, just a lot of those things. I thought the Austin [Rivers] thing had an impact on some of our guys, because they know him. It was one of those nights when we couldn’t make a shot but we never took a shot in the paint, everything was a jump shot and we took the easy way out the entire night.”

Rivers coached against the son, Austin, for the first time on Wednesday night, and the rookie played well, scoring eight points in 22 minutes. Rivers was asked to describe his feelings during the game as he watched his son for the first time in an NBA game.

“You’re competing against your son and it’s just a different dynamic,” Rivers said. “You always want your son to do well, but I never go into a game wanting any player on the other team to do well. That’s the dynamic that’s just so different, it was difficult but after that it was a game and we didn’t play very well and that was disappointing.”

Austin Rivers was the 10th pick of the 2012 draft, 11 picks before the Celtics made their first selection. If Rivers had somehow slipped to the 21st spot, would the Celtics have selected him?

“We would have taken him,” Rivers said. “Danny [Ainge] wanted him from the beginning, so that would not have been hard for us. After watching him play this year, I don’t think that would have been that hard. I think he’s going to be a really good player, I just think it’s going to take some time to get comfortable and to play at his speed. But he’s a guy, as you saw last night, that can get his shot and get to the basket and that’s something we need so we would have taken him.”

The starting lineups for the NBA All-Star Game will be announced on Thursday, and both Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett have a good chance of landing spots in that lineup for the Eastern Conference. Rivers was asked if making the All-Star team was a source of motivation for Rondo (who has played in the last three All-Star Games but has never started) or Garnett (a 13-time All-Star).

“I think Rondo really wants it, young players really want to be on the All-Star team,” Rivers said. “Kevin, I would say, he enjoyed the break last year, he went home to Malibu and had a great time and he would enjoy doing that again. But I think it would be an honor for him, at this age to make the All-Star team is amazing.”

To hear the interview click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Celtics news visit weei.com/celtics.

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