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Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘This is the time of year where you really want your team together’

Celtics [1] coach Doc Rivers [2] made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and discussed Wednesday night’s loss to the Nets [3], the team field trip to view the movie “42,” and Louisville’s victory over Michigan in the NCAA [4] championship game.

With their most recent loss, the C’s are nearly locked into the No. 7 seed for the playoffs, and will most likely be taking on the Knicks. Though his team’s fate is all but sealed, Rivers said he thinks the last few regular-season games are very important.

“It’s interesting because you’re still concerned about a couple of guys’ rests,” Rivers said. “It’s tough to accomplish things when you’re looking for that. But as far as our practices and our shootarounds, we’re working extremely hard right now on our rhythm, and I think we’re starting to get that.”

In the C’s 101-93 loss to Brooklyn, they did not attempt a single free throw in the first half and were outscored from the line 25-13 for the game.

“I don’t think the officials had anything to do with that,” Rivers said. “I thought there was one play where Jeff Green [5] drove, I thought it was his only drive in the first half, and I thought he got fouled on a shooting foul and didn’t get [the call]. Other than that, it was us. I’ve always said it, that the aggressor gets the calls. It’s human nature and I thought the Nets were attacking and attacking and we didn’t.”

On one of the team’s recent off days, Rivers decided to take his team to a pre-screening of the movie “42.” The film, which is about the life of Jackie Robinson [6], is being released in North America on Friday.

“They enjoyed it,” Rivers said. “I thought it was a really neat movie. I thought a lot of guys, you could just see their interest in it, so it was a good thing.”

Added Rivers of his reasoning behind the experience: “I didn’t think we should practice, No. 1. But I thought we should be together. I think this is the time of year where you really want your team together as much as possible, just with each other. I didn’t know if it would be motivational, but I thought it would just be learning, it’s a learning experience.”

The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Dodgers executive Branch Rickey. In April 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball [7].

Said Rivers of the film: “It’s funny, I think they went to this movie thinking about it, that this was a movie about race, and I think they left this movie learning that this is a movie more about team and being good teammates and learning how to be good teammates. … I just thought those things in that movie was great for our guys to see.”

On Monday night, the entire NBA took a night off to enjoy the conclusion of March Madness [8], with Louisville [9] taking on Michigan.

“That was good basketball,” Rivers said. “I thought Rick Pitino [10] and [John] Beilein, they both just kind of got out of the way and allowed their players to play. I think that’s one of the things Rick does a great job of. So does Beilein. I just like both of them and how they coach the game, how the players played the attack. They shot early shots, they didn’t move the ball for 40 seconds and then took a shot. It was just really good basketball.”

In the championship game, Louisville guard Peyton Siva had a great all-around game, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Meanwhile, Michigan’s impressive first half was spearheaded by a surprise player in freshman guard Spike Albrecht.

“I question [Siva’s] shot,” Rivers said. “With his size, you’ve got to have a shot unless you are a great passer. … You never know [about Albrecht] because he’s a gutty guy. We fell in love with his shot, but he was making plays off the dribble. It’d be interesting. He’s young, so he has some time.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page [11]. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics [12].