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Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘We have to make [Carmelo Anthony] work for it’

04.18.13 at 11:00 am ET
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With the regular season over and the playoffs starting Saturday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and discussed his experience during the Boston Marathon bombing, the team’s matchup with the Knicks, and how to stop Carmelo Anthony.

When the two explosions went off at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Rivers had just finished up his team’s practice and was planning on heading for the conclusion of the race.

“I just noticed people, literally running around,” Rivers said. “Then my phone rang and I think it was my assistant who told me what was going on. Obviously I didn’t have any hardship personally except for trying to navigate through people. What I witnessed more was just how quickly, in my opinion, the city went to work. I’m not talking just the first responders. What I did get to witness, it felt like hundreds, it wasn’t, but it felt like hundreds of ambulances, fire trucks roaring by me because I was on Huntington Avenue, which is the next block. … I saw a guy in a suit and tie directing traffic and saw guys hugging and saw people just trying to help each other, and that’s what struck me.”

Rivers talked about how his team will not be returning to Boston before the team’s first playoff game on Saturday in New York.

“The playoffs start on Saturday, so just the travel would have been hard and we made that decision,” Rivers said. “So that’s what we’re going to do. It’s an extended road trip, basically. But guys, they call home, they check on people they know, so that will be part of it. One of the things that I’ve never let go [of] and I understand more than anything is that athletes have a human life. A lot of times a guy will have a bad game and fans or the media will just want to say he didn’t play well, but you may know why for real. Maybe he had a personal issue at home that affected him, and this may affect us, but I’m hoping this affects us in a positive way.”

The Celtics finished 41-40 and with the seventh seed and will play Game 1 of their series vs. the second-seeded Knicks on Saturday afternoon. Games 1 and 2 will be at Madison Square Garden. The Celtics have had success in the postseason vs. the Knicks, but Rivers said he doesn’t expect past series to affect this year’s games.

“I hope [past history will help], but I don’t think it will,” Rivers said. “It would be nice if it helped but none of those guys or at least very few of those guys are part of that history. In a lot of ways it’s a brand new team we’re playing and they’re really good. They didn’t win our division and win the amount of games that they won by fluke. They’re a good basketball team.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

On stopping Anthony: “We do have to limit the other guys, but I don’t subscribe to the theory that he’s going to get what he’s going to get. He may get it, but we have to make him work for it, and if he gets it, it has to be 40 points on 40 shots, not 40 points on 15 shots.”

On possibly coaching somewhere else: “I don’t know, it depends on when I decide. Obviously if I want to take a break at some point, I’m too young to retire. … When I thought about it three years ago, that was really strong. Not only just the city, but I’m not going to be able to replace the group I work with. When you work with people that you enjoy working with, then you never can take that for granted as well.”

On playing a hot team like the Knicks: “The playoffs are a restart, they always are, no matter how well you’re playing, and the Knicks are playing unbelievable right now. … I go back to the 2010 year with the Cavs; they were playing unreal, going into the playoffs. They played great in the first round and then when we got them in the second round, they basically beat us pretty good in Game 1, then all of a sudden we beat them in Game 2 and all of a sudden they weren’t hot anymore, they were worried. That’s how quickly it changes.”

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