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Doc Rivers on D&C: Friday’s Game 3 in Boston ‘will be emotional for the players’

Celtics [1] coach Doc Rivers [2] made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning, as the C’s prepare for Friday night’s Game 3 against the Knicks.

The Celtics lost the first two games of their playoff series in New York, both times struggling badly on offense after halftime (48 points combined in the two second halves).

“I would love to say it’s as simple as play harder, play better, but we have to do a lot of things,” Rivers said. “Both games were completely different except for the score, as far as our scoring. In the second game, the third quarter we gave up [32] points, which meant that we played taking the ball out of bounds, and their pressure affected us. Our defense, though it’s been good, is still tied to our offense. And I would say in the third quarter that was the big part of it.”

Jeff Green [3] continues to shine in spurts, but he’s been unable to carry it through for an entire game. Rivers acknowledged Green’s inconsistency can be frustrating.

“At times. Because I know how good he can be — and I know how good he will be,” Rivers said. “He was fantastic in Game 1, if you just go by total numbers [26 points, 7 rebounds]. Obviously he’s not going to have the half he had in the first half, you’re not going to do that in two halves. That’s a 50-point game. I guess that’s possible, but that’s hard to do.

“In Game 2 our pace was bad. And if our pace affects any single guy, it’s Jeff Green. Without the pace that we wanted to play at, I thought we hurt him as much as Jeff. So, that’s on us. It really is. It’s on me, it’s on our group. Our guys understand the important of that. If you want him to be effective, we have to get him in the open court, otherwise they’re just loading up on him.”

Courtney Lee [4] lost his spot in the rotation in the postseason. Rivers explained that he simply decided to go with the more effective offensive option.

“Honestly, I think Jordan Crawford can give us some more scoring,” River said. “Defensively, we’re fine. Courtney’s a great spot-up shooter, and we may need that in this series. But we need guys who can catch and attack against New York, and I think Jordan gives us a better opportunity to do that.”

Rivers was not happy with the officials after Game 2, as Kevin Garnett [5] was called for a couple of questionable fouls in the first half and had to spend extra time on the bench. Rivers commented after the game, criticizing the calls, but he said he wasn’t trying to send a message to the officials.

“I was really responding to a question,” Rivers said. “I basically said, absolutely if Kevin Garnett’s not on the floor, you’re affected by it. And we were.”

Friday’s game marks the Celtics’ first appearance in Boston since the Boston Marathon bombing. Their final regular-season home game was canceled in the wake of the attack.

“Obviously it’s going to be emotional, and quite honestly it should be,” Rivers said. “I hope that we channel it in the right way, and I think we will. I really do. It will be emotional for the fans, it will be emotional for the players. It’s one of those things; that’s what it should be.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page [6]. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics [7].