|Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I don’t know if I’ve ever seen’ defense like Avery Bradley’s||03.14.13 at 12:04 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday to discuss Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s scoring milestones, the Heat’s winning streak and other NBA topics.
In Wednesday night’s 112-88 Celtics win over the Raptors, Garnett passed Jerry West for 15th on the NBA all-time scoring list, while Pierce passed Charles Barkley to moved into 20th place.
“It’s really cool when you hear names like Jerry West,” Rivers said. “Kevin Garnett just passed the NBA logo, and Paul passes Charles Barkley. So when you hear names like that, you know how lucky you are as a coach that you’re coaching guys like that.”
After Garnett’s milestone, he received a thunderous ovation from the TD Garden crowd, and he acknowledged the reception for a few moments. While that might not be a typical thing for Garnett to do, Rivers said that the future Hall-of-Famer is realizing just how close his career is to being over.
“I do think over this year especially, I think he understands that he has how many years left, and we don’t know that,” Rivers said. “But I do think he’s starting to acknowledge a lot of that and appreciate it, and soak it in, and I’m happy he’s doing that.”
The C’s victory Wednesday came after perhaps their worst loss of the season Tuesday. They fell on the road to the lowly Bobcats, 100-74, albeit without Pierce. Similar to how Rivers gave Garnett a game off recently, he decided to do the same with the captain Tuessday.
“Paul was banged up a little bit in the Oklahoma game,” Rivers said. “I thought just the Oklahoma travel, that was a very difficult trip. When you travel basically four hours, get off a plane and play the next day at 12 noon. … That was a difficult game for us.
“You’re thinking about two things. You want to win every game now. But you also want to be fresh and right when the playoffs start. To do that, with Kevin especially, and then maybe Paul, and even JET [Jason Terry], we have to consider doing it.”
For the last month or so, the biggest story in the NBA has been the Heat’s winning streak. After their 98-94 win over the 76ers on Wednesday, Miami has won 20 straight.
“What they’re doing is amazing, especially when you factor in that every night the other team is playing their best, they’re trying to beat them,” Rivers said. “I think people forget the year after we won [the championship], we won 18 in a row, before Kevin went down. We were on that same kind of roll as well. I understand it. It’s hard to do, it really is hard to do. The fact they’re doing it is pretty impressive.”
On the best on-ball defenders: “Derek Harper would be the first guy that comes to mind for me. Alvin Robertson was pretty good. Scottie Pippen was great at it, but he was a 3. But as far as a point guard, up pressuring the ball, you haven’t seen guys get ripped at halfcourt the way Avery [Bradley] has done. Even the list of guys now. It’s almost every single [game]. You’ve got [Russell] Westbrook, he did it last night to [Kyle] Lowry. You really haven’t seen that since maybe Walt Frazier. He used to get guys, if you remember, with that strip at halfcourt. But to do it as consistent as Avery does, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it.”
On trying to avoid the Heat in the playoffs: “The other [way to look at it] is, the sooner the better. You don’t want them for the first round, obviously. But Kevin, Paul, JET, will be fresher in the second round than the third round, so you can look at it either way.”
On Wes Welker leaving the Patriots: “I wasn’t happy with it. I like Wes, Wes is a big Celtics fan, so I do like that. But, I hate to see him leave, number one, and hated to see him go to Denver, who I think in the near future will become a big rival.”
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