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Doc on D&C: ‘We’re close’ 03.25.10 at 8:51 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the state of the Celtics. “We’re closer,” Rivers said. “I don’t think anybody can say they’re there right now as a team.”

Rivers said the Celtics’ recent improved play can directly be attributed to the team’s improved health. “We were 23-5 [to start the season], we were completely healthy,” he said. “I felt this throughout that whole streak. It’s amazing how conveniently everybody forgot about that. … So many different guys had to play so many different roles. … That took a toll on us.”

Rivers said he’s focused on continuing to get the team in rhythm the rest of the regular season, but, “I still want to get them rest as well.”

Rivers was asked about the NCAA tournament and which underdog he thinks has the best chance of advancing. “I think Cornell’s the best [underdog] that’s still available,” Rivers said. “Unfortunately, they have to play the best team [Kentucky]. … If that game is close, I think Cornell wins that game.”

Rivers said he has been getting grief from Nate Robinson since Robinson’s alma mater, Washington, knocked off Rivers’ school, Marquette, in the tournament’s opening round. “I’m still getting [teased],” Rivers said. “Every time he walks by me, he sings the Washington fight song.”

To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

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Rivers on D&C: ‘We’re starting to get it back’ 03.18.10 at 9:29 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning (click here for the audio) and continued to be an optimist about his team. “We’re starting to get it back,” he said. “If we can get it back in time … I love our chances.”

Rivers was asked about his recent comments that the Celtics are close to getting back to form after their midseason struggles, and he was asked if he meant that the C’s could contend for a championship. “Yeah, I really see that,” Rivers said. “Listen, this is the same team that was 25-5. And I don’t lose sight of that. I’ll let everybody else loses sight of that, but I haven’t. I know we can reach back to that level. … Everyone forgets conveniently, the stretch that we struggled in, we were not right. We were not the same team. Now we’re healthy. We’ve added pieces. Nate [Robinson] is going to help us. Mike Finley is going to help us. Like I told out team, we’re not going to defend ourselves. we’re just going to go out and play. We have to prove that. As a group, I can tell you, our team belives that.”

An online columnist recently suggested that a key problem with the C’s is that Rajon Rondo and Kevin Perkins need to step up and be leaders because the Big Three have been distracted by health problems. “That’s ludicrous,” Rivers said. “It’s ridiculous, it really is. Kevin Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] are the leaders, but so is Rondo and Perk. I think the starting five leads our team and they always have this year. So I don’t know how all of a sudden you assume a different leadership role. That sounds so great in print, or saying it, but it’s not realistic. I think that our team’s leadership has been intact all year. I think all five of those guys lead when they need to. The bottom line is our starting five … all five of them have to set the table for his entire team.”

Rivers also made a prediction that Robinson will be a key contributor in the postseason. “Nate is a guy who has the chance to be a one-game sensation,” Rivers said “He’s going to win a playoff game for us.”

Asked if he was paying attention to the standings as the playoffs get closer, Rivers said no. “Our goal is to be ready, honest to goodness,” he said. “I’m so focused on our team.”

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Perkins on D&H: C’s need ‘sense of urgency’ 03.11.10 at 1:38 pm ET
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The play of Rashard Lewis (left) and Kendrick Perkins should be key in Thursday night's Celtics-Magic showdown. (AP)

Kendrick Perkins said the Celtics can't wait until the playoffs to put it together. (AP)

Celtics center Kendrick Perkins made an appearance on the Dale & Holley show Thursday morning (listen to the interview here) to talk about the Celtics’ struggles, which were painfully evident in Wednesday night’s blowout loss at home to the Grizzlies. Perkins addressed the team’s home woes. “I don’t think we feel like we have a sense of urgency,” he said. “On the road, you can feel the urgency and focus before the game. [At home], guys are talking more in the locker room. … You can just tell it’s a different kind of focus.”

Asked about the boos from the home crowd Wednesday night, Perkins said he was surprised they started so early, in the first quarter, but that it didn’t bother him. “Not really. I think we deserved to get booed last night,” he said. “We didn’t give our best performance last night. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Asked if he felt the team could coast through the regular season and then turn it on for the playoffs, Perkins said: “No, I don’t think. I feel like we have 19 games left. We’ve got to get it going, sooner or later, before we get into the playoffs.”

Perkins talked about his troubles dealing with officials and getting technical fouls. “In the past two years a lot of my T’s have been complaining to the refs or talking bad to the refs,” he said. “This year a lot of my T’s have been getting tangled up under the basket. I’ve been trying to avoid getting them.” The center said he has tried to develop a better relationship with the refs but fears that his intense demeanor may give off the wrong vibe. “[Magic center] Dwight Howard, he can smile on the court. I’m not that type of person,” Perkins said. “I may have a frown, but I’m not frowning at [the officials].”

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Rivers on D&C: ‘We deserved’ boos 03.11.10 at 9:53 am ET
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Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Celtics’ embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies the night before (listen to the interview here).

Asked if his team quit, Rivers said it didn’t start out that way, but that’s how it ended up. “I thought they gave in as the game went on. Yeah, there’s no doubt, you can call it ‘quit’ or whatever,” Rivers said. “But I don’t think they mailed it in when they showed up. If you look at the first eight minutes of that game, I thought we competed. We missed every shot, every wide-open shot. … When things went bad, I didn’t think we had a lot of resolve to fight it last night, and that was obvious, But when you watch the beginning of the game, the ball was moving. We missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot after wide-open shot. … What bothered me about it was as we missed shots we hung our heads more and more.” Added Rivers: “On the [defensive] end is where the breakdowns came. As the game got worse, our fight got less, and that bothers me.”

Rivers said he was most disturbed by the fact that at halftime the Grizzlies had a much higher shooting percentage than the Celtics and, on top of that, managed to get more offensive rebounds in fewer opportunities. “That’s an effort category for us,” Rivers said. “And clearly, it didn’t show.”

Rivers said his team earned the boos that rained down upon them from the TD Garden crowd. “Yeah, that was pretty good, and we deserved it,” he said. “Listen, I’m not a fan of booing anything. … But that was frustrating for the fans as well. I always think you support your team good or bad, but last night was so bad — and it’s rare where I’d say this — I had no problem with it at all.”

Asked if there was an explanation for the team’s home woes, Rivers said: “No, there isn’t. That’s a tough one to explain. We have played at times — we’ve been more comfortable on the road, which is unusual. … We just haven’t played well, bottom line.”

Asked if he planned a display of anger, such as breaking a clipboard, to inspire his team, Rivers said he would only do so if needed, downplaying its impact. “Listen, that is so overrated it’s ridiculous,” he said.

Rivers said the team is focused on getting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett healthy and back into the flow of things before the playoffs roll around. “We have 19 games to get them right. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “Our best players have to be great for us to be a great team. And we have to figure out over these next [19] games whatever the best way is to get them there. If that means sitting them down for two weeks, we’ll do that. If that means playing them even though they may not play well, and maybe struggle through it, but get them more rhythm, then we’re going to do that. … That’s the key to our season. We have to get them right.”

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Reports: Finley chooses Celtics 03.04.10 at 4:32 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, forward Michael Finley agreed to join the Celtics for the rest of the season. The 6-foot-7 veteran, who was waived by the Spurs this week, is expected to join the C’s this weekend. The 37-year-old Finley played just 25 games for San Antonio this season, averaging 3.7 points per game. Over his 15-year career, he has averaged 15.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

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Reports: C’s have interest in Finley 03.02.10 at 8:21 am ET
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According to multiple reports, the Celtics are interested in swingman Michael Finley, who asked for and was given his release by the Spurs Monday. Finley, who turns 37 Saturday, played just 25 games this season for the Spurs, averaging 3.7 points.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports quoted Finley’s agent, Henry Thomas, who explained why Finley wanted to leave San Antonio after five seasons: “It was a situation where the Spurs understood why Michael wanted to pursue other opportunities elsewhere. He wants to be part of the mix again. He’s a competitor who has never been in that position [of not playing] before.”

Finley broke into the NBA in 1995 with the Suns, who drafted him 21st overall out of Wisconsin. He was traded midway through the following season to Dallas, where he played 8½ years, including two All-Star seasons in 1999-2000 and 2000-01. He joined the Spurs in 2005 as a free agent and won an NBA title in 2007. He has a career average of 15.9 points per game.

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Report: Celtics, Wizards discuss major trade 02.12.10 at 9:40 am ET
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According to a report by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics and Wizards are talking about a deal that would send Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens to Washington for forwards Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. The report stated: “The trade isn’t imminent, but talks have progressed,” and the teams are expected to continue discussions during All-Star Weekend.

The report also indicated that the Celtics may be hesitant because they would be taking on an additional $24 million in salary next season between Jamison and Butler.

Washington also reportedly is in trade talks with the Mavericks, as well as part of a stalled three-team discussion with the Knicks and Rockets that would send Tracy McGrady to the Knicks, Al Harrington and Larry Hughes to the Wizards and Caron Butler and possibly Mike Miller to the Rockets.

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