|Doc on Dirk: There’s never been a player like him||01.18.10 at 8:28 pm ET|
Doc Rivers has seen plenty of great players in his time as a player and coach in the NBA.
But he says he’s never seen one like Dirk Nowitzki.
What makes the 7-foot big man so special is his ability to roam the court like a guard.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a player like Dirk, honestly,” Rivers said. “He’s a rare [player]. He’s literally an original. There’s been seven-footers who can shoot, there’s been seven-footers who can pass but there’s been none who can do all of them.”
“I was laughing with Reggie Miller,” Rivers said. “They’re running plays for Dirk that we run for Ray Allen and teams [used to] run for Reggie Miller. Bringing him off triple-screens. You just haven’t seen that. The next coming of that would be the kid in Oklahoma, [Kevin] Durant. They’re the only two guys like that.”
Rasheed Wallace picked a heckuva time to come back after a three-game hiatus with a sore left foot. He had the task of guarding Nowitzki.
“I don’t know if this is the perfect game for him to come back and face Dirk Nowitzki,” Rivers said. “That’s a tall order but that’s the order we have and he’s got to follow through.”
|Pierce plays, Sheed returns||01.18.10 at 7:32 pm ET|
Doc Rivers announced before Monday’s tipoff that both Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace were cleared to play against the Mavericks. Pierce banged his sore right knee into the leg of Shelden Williams during Sunday’s practice while Wallace missed the last three games with a sore left foot.
|Preview: Celtics-Mavericks||01.18.10 at 10:30 am ET|
Doc Rivers has a well-deserved reputation as a player’s coach, but that tag is too nebulous to hold any real meaning. Generally a player’s coach is regarded as someone (usually an ex-player) who is in touch with his team’s psyche and doesn’t try to make them bend to his will. A player’s coach allows the team to be the star instead of the system. Just as generally, player’s coaches are praised when things go well for knowing what buttons to push and derided for being too soft when things go poorly. That’s just the nature of the business.
Rivers is hardly soft. He demands a lot of his players and expects them to perform according to the coaching staff’s gameplan. But he rarely airs them out in public, at least not in a way that seems too personal. Perhaps more importantly, he seems to have a handle on when to go hard and when to make things light, as in holding a team dunk contest during practice on Saturday. It’s hardly an exact science and Rivers has, at times, taken blame when he felt that he pushed his team too hard in retrospect.
If he has a criticism it’s that he doesn’t incorporate the Celtics younger players into the lineup and give them a fair chance to contribute. It’s impossible to say for sure if Bill Walker, for example, can ever be a part of the rotation because he never gets a real chance to play meaningful minutes. But in Rivers’ defense, he’s not coaching a team for the future. The Celtics are built to win this season. That’s how he will be judged and everything he does needs to be seen through that prism.
That may be unfortunate for Walker and J.R. Giddens at this point in their career, but it makes sense for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Rivers’ job is to get the best out of those players during the time that he has them on his team.
MAVERICKS (26-14, 5-5 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.3
Points Allowed: 98.1
Differential: +2.2 (12th)
Offensive Efficiency: 107.5 (13th)
Defensive Efficiency: 105.2 (11th)
Pace: 92.1 (19th)
CELTICS (27-11, 4-6 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.5
Points Allowed: 93.7
Differential: +6.8 (Second)
Offensive Efficiency: 108.9 (10th)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (Third)
Pace: 91.8 (21st)
|Report: Marbury to play in China||01.18.10 at 10:05 am ET|
Marbury has agreed to play for Shanxi Club of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), the team announced on their website (via Reuters). He will arrive in Shanxi next week.
While no financial terms were disclosed, Marbury reportedly did not request a blockbuster deal because he wants to promote his Starbury line of shoes in China.
Marbury appeared in 23 games for the Celtics last season. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 assists.
|Pierce bangs his knee||01.17.10 at 5:15 pm ET|
The injury, according to head coach Doc Rivers, didn’t appear serious. But it was enough to force him out of the final moments of practice.
“It’s starting to feel better, I hope he’s fine,” Rivers said following the session. Pierce was spotted at the end of practice with ice on his right knee – the same one that forced Pierce to the sidelines for five games around the holidays with an infection.
“He got kneed [in] same exact spot,” Rivers said. “It’s just amazing the luck right now with things like that.”
The team held a full practice on Sunday after his team held a short workout on Saturday that included a skills competition.
The scary moment at the end of the practice comes as the team prepares to welcome back Rasheed Wallace to action in time for Monday’s game against Dallas at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett is hopeful to return on Friday against Portland.
|Celtics stay loose at practice||01.16.10 at 2:32 pm ET|
WALTHAM — After losing to the Bulls on Thursday night, the Celtics stayed loose during Saturday’s open practice. The uplifting mood was good for the team.
“After losses, sometimes guys can be mad at each other a little bit,” said Kendrick Perkins. “Sometimes we need a little laughter in the gym, stuff like that. I think that helped us.”
First some news before the notes …
– Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot) is expected to play on Monday against the Mavericks. “Definitely, I’m going to go Monday,” he said after practice. “I’ve got one more [practice] to get under my belt. I’ll be fine.” Doc Rivers said the team will make a final decision after observing Wallace in practice on Sunday. Wallace, who has missed the last three games, is eager to shake the injury that has been bothering him for some time. “It happened a while ago,” he said. “I’ve been playing on it for two weeks. The last few minutes in the Toronto game last week, that sort of did it.”
– J.R Giddens and Bill Walker faced off in a slam dunk contest. Marquis Daniels and Wallace were the official judges, holding up their scores on dry-erase boards. Walker started off strong with a windmill dunk but it was Giddens who stole the show. “The between the legs one? A 10,” ranked Perkins. “That was alright, especially in practice.” Just alright? The dunk sent Eddie House running around the court and had Glen Davis rolling backward.
– House and Ray Allen took to the line for a free throw competition. The team’s top two free throw shooters were flawless despite desperate attempts from the Celtics to distract them. Rivers encouraged the crowd to make noise, Paul Pierce leaped under the basket as House and Allen squared up, the buzzer sounded, even Danny Ainge threw up shots to shake the pair. In the end, the duel ended in a tie without either player missing a free throw.
The Celtics will practice — think drills, not contests — on Sunday before taking on the Mavericks Monday night at 8pm in Boston.
|Bulls catch C’s at a ‘good time’||01.15.10 at 12:28 am ET|
Time after time this season, opposing head coaches have complained about their teams not responding to the physical challenge that is the Boston Celtics on the parquet.
Chicago’s Vinny Del Negro, who will always be associated with blowing a 35-point lead at Sacramento earlier this season, didn’t have to worry about his team’s toughness on Thursday night.
They went toe-to-toe with the Celtics, the same team that eliminated them last spring and came away with their first win in Boston in six tries, 96-83.
Whether it was Boston playing its fourth game in five nights, whether it was the Celtics being without Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett again or whether it was just Chicago playing its best road game of the season, the Bulls walked out of TD Garden with a win that will last much longer in their memory banks than the loss will stick with the Green.
Afterward, both sides talked about Da Bulls taking it to Da C’s.
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