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Why Doc Rivers is looking to make life easier for Kevin Garnett 05.03.12 at 2:54 pm ET
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WALTHAM — The Celtics spent most of their 75-minute practice session Thursday working on half-court set offense.

Why?

Well, two reasons.

If indeed Ray Allen is healthy enough to return, then they’re going to need his jump shot and Doc Rivers wants his team to remember how to get him his shots. But secondly, and maybe more importantly, with or without Allen, the Celtics need to do a better job of freeing up space for Kevin Garnett, who has had precious little of it in the first two games against the Hawks.

If Allen can play, that will help Garnett. But if he can’t the Celtics need to find another scorer besides Paul Pierce to help out so both Atlanta guards aren’t doubling down in the paint and guarding Garnett.

“We just need a scorer,” Rivers said before Thursday’s practice. “We have to space the floor. They’re killing us with their help [defense]. They just decided without Ray on the floor, they’re just going to swarm everybody and you’re going to have to find someone.”

Rivers said he’s not worried about Garnett’s jumper. He’s more alarmed that he has made just 13-of-32 field goal attempts in the first two games. There has to be help for KG going forward.

“We have to,” Rivers said. “The jumper is going to come. I’m not worried about that. But we have to establish him more. We have to get bodies off of him. They’re bumping him around, knocking him around. We have to do a better job as a staff, do a better job of trying to get bodies off of him and giving him some room.

“Our spacing is horrendous for him. Clearly without Ray, they’re using both guards to just sit in the paint. And we have to do a better of creating space. It’s tough when you have two guys they’re just not guarding. That makes it difficult on Kevin. It reminds me of Perk and Rondo early on, and that was a big and guard. Now, it’s two guards [they’re using] and they’re quick, and they can poke and jab at the ball. We have to figure out something because we have to get something down low.”

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers
Ray Allen is optimistic but Doc Rivers is cautious about Game 3 05.03.12 at 1:43 pm ET
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WALTHAM, Mass. — Doc Rivers has been around way too long to get over overly excited – let alone ahead of himself – when players tell him they’re optimistic they can play.

But still Rivers was pleased Thursday when Ray Allen showed up, announcing that his left ankle felt good enough to allow him to practice as the team prepares for Game 3 against the Hawks on Friday at the Garden.

“[Friday] matters a lot more. I thought you said he said he was definitely playing,” Rivers said. “That would be great news. He’s going to practice but it’s going to be under my watch. He told me [Wednesday] he was going to practice and I told him, ‘we’ll see.’ Really, I don’t even know what to do. Honest to God. Eddie and our doctors have all talked. We don’t know the answer. We don’t know if practicing is a good idea or not. If he practices today but doesn’t play [Friday], I’m going to be upset at myself.”

Allen took part in the full 75-minute Celtics practice Thursday, which was mostly comprised of half-court sets. Allen tried working out before Game 2 and had a bad setback that kept him from playing in Game 2 Tuesday.

“He biked [Wednesday], I guess that is good. I think he has a better shot but we’ll find that out,” Rivers said. “He wants to do more today so we’ll see. We did that the other day and it didn’t work so we have to maybe limit Ray from Ray. He’s such a creature of habit, and I actually thought that may hurt him for any chance of him to play. Obviously, it reacted that poorly after just the workout he did, it’s probably good he didn’t play, at the end of the day.

“He’s a tough one because he’s such a creature of habit. He does his workouts the night before every game and does his two hours of shooting and then before the game does his hour of shooting. That’s a lot of work. We have to figure out a way of allowing him to try to do some of it but not doing so much where when he finishes he can’t play because I’d rather take 10 minutes of him on the floor than nothing, if that’s what it comes to.”

Allen sounded as optimistic as he has since missing the final 11 games of the regular season with the left ankle injury and the first two playoff games.

“Last couple of days, I’ve been in a really good place so I’m optimistic,” Allen said before Thursday’s practice. “If I’m sitting here [Friday] feeling good, that’s a different story. I am optimistic about practicing today so that’s definitely a great step for me moving forward. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers has the back of Rajon Rondo 04.29.12 at 11:12 pm ET
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Just before Rajon Rondo left the court in disgrace Sunday night after being ejected for chest bumping (not in a good way) official Marc Davis, he stopped and pleaded his case to his coach.

Doc Rivers stood there and listened briefly before Rondo was ushered to the locker room by team security. Apparently, it struck a chord with Rivers, who was once in Rondo’s shoes, playing a pair of heated playoff series against the Celtics back in 1986 and ’88.

Despite replays showing Rondo clearly bumped Davis with 40 seconds remaining before getting ejected, the Celtics coach came to the defense of his star point guard after Sunday night’s 83-74 loss to the Hawks in Game 1.

‘€œHe’€™s in the game, right?” Rivers answered when asked about Rondo’s reaction to the foul call on Brandon Bass, who raked Josh Smith in the face on a loose ball scramble. “So, when you’€™re in the game, I didn’€™t know there’€™s a rule the guy only involved in the play is the only one who can argue the call. As a coach, I’€™m not in the play, either. I argue calls vehemently.

“They’€™re all 10 competitors. You’€™re standing right there, you see what you see, you have a right to argue just as much as anybody else. I think it’€™s great. I think it’€™s getting your guys’€™ back on your team.’€

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 NBA playoffs, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers
An ugly game could be a thing of beauty for Sasha Pavlovic and Marquis Daniels 04.25.12 at 9:19 am ET
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To Doc Rivers, no minutes or players are ever insignificant. Even in a game that had most starters on both sides taking the night off to rest for the playoffs.

To Rivers, a game like Tuesday is the perfect time to get players like Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic tuned up, just in case he might be needed in the playoffs. And given how this year has progressed, it’s certainly a good idea not to rule any possibility out.

Pavlovic had 12 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, as he made five of his six attempts from the floor, while Daniels sparked the surge that put the game away with a high-flying dunk as the Celtics beat the Heat, 78-66, at the Garden.

Like most of the starters on both teams, Pavlovic did not have a good start to the game. He was on the floor with the starters who opened the game 0-for-7 for Boston as the Celtics fell behind 11-0. He missed both of his shots in the opening 12 minutes and was scoreless in the first half.

But then he turned it on in the second half, finishing with a flourish in the fourth quarter when he nailed a couple of open threes during a 10-0 Boston run.

‘€œIf I’€™m wide open I shouldn’€™t be hesitant and that’€™s what I’€™m trying to do,” Pavlovic said. “The most important thing with me, just don’€™t think and shoot the ball when I’€™m wide open. I started kind of slow in the first half, Doc was on me about that. He told me just to play to it, I took a couple bad shots in the first half. I just came out in the second half and played as hard as I could defensively and whenever I had an open shot I just took it.’€

“That was huge for Sasha. I thought it was ‘€“ especially in the fact that Sasha really struggled in the first half and then he came in the second half and played terrific,” Rivers said.

Daniels and Pavlovic have both spent time this season, languishing at the end of the Celtics’ bench with little or no hope of playing time. “DNP-Coach’s Decision” has appeared on their line in many boxscores this season.

But not Tuesday. On a night the Celtics kept alive their hopes of home court advantage, both of them had big roles as Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma got the night off. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marquis Daniels, Miami Heat, NBA
Sean Williams gives a glimpse of the ‘competitor’ he can be 04.25.12 at 8:24 am ET
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Sean Williams was regarded as one of the best shot-blocking talents coming out of college when he declared for the 2007 NBA draft out of Boston College.

Tuesday, with no Kevin Garnett and Greg Stiemsma, the Celtics had to look somewhere for bench help to support Ryan Hollins, and it was the newly-acquired Williams who got the look-see.

In nearly 20 minutes, he scored five points, hauled down two rebounds, had two assists and yes, blocked two shots in Boston’s 78-66 ugly duckling win over the Heat at the Garden.

‘€œIt was OK,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Williams Tuesday. “He’€™s a shot blocker, doesn’€™t know a lot of our stuff. You know he was pressing early; him and Ryan they were pressing way too much early on. And I thought as they settled in, one thing I did like about Sean down the stretch: he’€™s competitive. And you can see that. He wasn’€™t going to back down to anything, got some great blocked shots, so that was good to see.’€

So, back in Boston, Williams had the juices flowing in the first half, almost too much. Rivers could tell he was a bit nervous, and Williams didn’t deny that.

‘€œYes I was a little,” Williams said with a smile. ‘€œYou go out there your first time you get tired real fast, your legs get down on you real quick, everything kind of shuts down on you so I caught my second wind I guess in the second half.’€

Technically, Williams is eligible for Boston’s playoff roster since he waived by Dallas before the March 23 NBA deadline for rosters. Could he help off the bench as a shot-blocking force if Stiemsma’s sore feet act up?

‘€œI’€™m just trying to come in here and help these guys reach their goals, getting that 18th ring, that’€™s all I’€™m focused on,” Williams said. ‘€œI’€™ll let Doc decide that. Its not up to me. I just come here every day and try to get better at what I do.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Boston College, Dallas Mavericks, Greg Stiemsma
Doc Rivers: ‘Someone had to win the game’ 04.25.12 at 12:45 am ET
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How do you explain a game in which you fall behind 11-0 to the No. 2 team in the East, don’t score for the first six minutes, 15 seconds, score 10 points in the first quarter on your home court (28 for the half) only to win going away by 12 points?

‘€œWell, someone had to win the game,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of the 78-66 slopfest that Boston managed not to lose against Miami Tuesday at the Garden. “And we did, which was really nice. You know these games are still important, probably for both teams. I’€™m sure (Erik Spoelstra) is still looking at guys. We pretty much know our rotation, but someone else is always going to help you in playoffs, and games like this can give you confidence.”

With Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Mickael Pietrus, Ray Allen and Greg Stiemsma all getting the night off, Paul Pierce played just 18 minutes and scored eight points. Instead, it was Sasha Pavlovic leading the way with 16 points and Marquis Daniels adding 13 to help the Celtics to their 38th win of the season.

“That was huge for Sasha,” Rivers said. “I thought it was ‘€“ especially in the fact that Sasha really struggled in the first half and then he came in the second half and played terrific. I thought for (E’€™Twaun Moore), just playing that amount of minutes at the point-guard position was good for him. And, so, there were a lot of good things in our way for that. You know it every year: someone who plays a little bit comes in in the playoffs and has a big game for you. Marquis, again. So all those guys I thought the game was very important for.’€

It certainly wasn’t easy for Pierce.

‘€œYeah, Paul was just ‘€“ you could see he was struggling,” Rivers said. “Also struggling with spacing, too. I mean, he’€™s used to Ray and Paul and Kevin and those guys spacing the floor; he spun one time, he should’€™ve been by himself, and three of our guys were in his way. It’€™s all that.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Marquis Daniels, NBA
Why this was no ordinary division championship for the Celtics 04.19.12 at 10:19 am ET
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The Celtics have won the Atlantic Division in all five years of the new “Big 3″.

And it’s a well known fact that they don’t commemorate division titles with banners up above.

But when the Celtics clinched the division Wednesday with a 102-98 win over the Magic, there was reason to step back and take a bow.

It was how they got there that was impressive, especially to their coach Doc Rivers. He acknowledged the significance of the turnaround by the team, which played without the injured Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus.

‘€œYeah, it does, I mean [something],” Rivers said. “It’€™s funny we were kidding in the locker room because I really ‘€“ I usually, honestly, don’€™t say much about it ‘€“ I don’€™t know if I’€™ve ever congratulated the team for winning one,” But I did tell them, I said, ‘€˜Guys, I know it’€™s not a big deal to us ‘€“ and it isn’€™t because we’€™re not in this to win divisions ‘€“ but, we were two games under .500 at All-Star break and the fact that you did it and did it this early I think is very impressive.’€™ And it was.’€

Captain Paul Pierce led the Celtics Wednesday with 29 points and a career-high 14 assists. Pierce reminded everyone afterward of what the final goal is for the team, a team that was two games under .500 at the All-Star break.

“I’m not about to go pop champagne bottles or anything like that,” Pierce said. “I know they do in baseball. I mean, it is a good accomplishment. The guys should recognize where we came from to what we are today. It’s a good accomplishment I guess. But all we care about around here is a championship banner. I guess it’s just a step towards the journey we are trying to go towards.”

But Kevin Garnett took the chance to take a swipe at the naysayers who wrote the team off, giving them no chance of winning another division, let alone championship.

‘€œYou guys called us old, over,” Garnett said. “I heard some of your pathetic articles and some of your lousy announcers [predictions]. It’€™s a pity. Obviously you don’€™t know what drives us. We thank y’all for those articles, appreciate it because it lit a fire under. One of the hardest things I’€™ve always said in this league is to create chemistry.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Keyon Dooling
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