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Doc Rivers: ‘We are really right at the threshold’

02.13.13 at 9:31 pm ET

Celtics coach Doc Rivers touched on just about every issue facing his team — and there are many — prior to his team’s final game before the NBA All-Star break: 1) the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Leandro Barbosa (who he “absolutely” wants back next season); 2) the search for a point guard (or any warm body, for that matter); 3) losing Barbosa, Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo in the locker room (a bigger deal than people think); 4) his depleted roster (“We are really right at the threshold”); 5) whether we’ll see more Fab Melo (we won’t); 6) similarities between Rondo and reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson (few beyond the ACL tear); 7) Michael Jordan‘s 50th birthday (“I wish they were all like that”), he hit them all. Here goes:

On Leandro Barbosa’s absence: “You don’t know a player or a coach or anybody until you actually coach with them or play with them, and he’s one of those guys you just like in your locker room — forget the basketball part. His spirit has been really good for us, and losing that, that’s big. And then he was our wild card. It’s good to have a wild card. When you throw him in, it could go either way, but you knew he was going to be aggressive.”

On point guard prospects: “In the last 48 hours, [Celtics president] Danny [Ainge] and I have probably covered every human being that’s breathing and can dribble and shoot. We’re just going to take our time. At the end of the day today, that’s basically what we came to. You don’t want to rush anything. We don’t have a lot of flexibility cap-wise. We’re just going to wait. If somebody shakes loose or you can get somebody, we will, but until then we’re stretched at the guard spot.”

On the lack of depth: “There’s no reason to just go grab a guy. We’re going to wait. One of the things I told Danny, at the end of the day, for us let’s not look at a position anymore. That’s something we were doing, and from now on — with all the injuries — whoever’s out there who we think is the best player, no matter what position, we’ll just get him and figure out how to use him. Even if it’s a 3, where we don’t need, we’ll just move it around and play three 3’s if we have to, but I would rather have the best player than a positional player.”

On losing three personalities: “A locker room is a very underrated thing, and I always use a Chuck Daly line. He always said, ‘I don’t know how you get chemistry, but I know when you get it, you know it and you do whatever you can to protect it and keep it. So those hurt you.”

On the thought of further injuries: “We literally can’t have another one, so if someone gets hurt, they can’t get hurt. We have to ignore it. We were very aggressive this summer, and now we are really right at the threshold. We don’t have flexibility, and that hurts you.”

On Fab Melo’s potential: “Players play when they’re ready, and that’ll never change. If Fab was ready, he’d be planning. I don’t think we — or any organization, for the most part — coddles guys. They put guys on the floor they think are ready. If guys aren’t on the floor, that doesn’t mean we’re right or wrong in our decision-making, but we feel like they’re not ready yet.”

On Rajon Rondo’s ACL surgery: “I want him to be exactly like Adrian Peterson. That doesn’t mean you’re going to make it back, but I think it’s a good thing, it’s a good goal to have. I think Adrian Peterson has probably messed everybody’s mind up. Everyone thinks they’re going to come back and be Adrian Peterson. First of all, it’s a different game. I know in football there’s hitting and cutting, but you’re running on a hardwood floor and every step you make is a cut in basketball. So, I think you have to be very careful in that. I think in basketball guys come back, but I think it takes a little longer to feel comfortable.”

On Michael Jordan turning 50: “The thing I remember about him the most is the halftime speech at the All-Star Game. I think [Charles] Barkley was laughing and a couple of guys were joking around, and he basically informed us that we were going to win the game and whoever didn’t feel like playing that way should not playing in the second half, and I actually like that. I wish they all were like that.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Leandro Barbosa, Michael Jordan
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