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Why the buddy system is ‘huge’ for Doc Rivers 04.10.13 at 12:37 pm ET
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Randy Wittman has always been a helpful resource to Doc Rivers. (AP)

Randy Wittman has always been a helpful resource to Doc Rivers. (AP)

WALTHAM — Doc Rivers isn’t just one of the most personable coaches among fans and media, he’s one of the most likable among his fellow NBA head coaches.

And that – as it turns out – has its rewards.

As the playoffs near, Rivers has been tapping into that network of coaches for some inside intel. But Rivers isn’t looking for advance scouting tips on his opponents; he’s looking for what other coaches see in the Celtics.

Rivers was asked Tuesday at practice what he thought of teams like Cleveland and Washington defending Paul Pierce and Jeff Green with smaller, quicker guards.

“That won’t last,” Rivers predicted. “I think teams will go back and forth on it. And they did even in the game the other night [vs. Washington]. They started out small, went big and then went back to small. I think teams are trying to figure out which way they would guard them.”

Why is that? All Rivers had to do was ask longtime friend and former Atlanta teammate Randy Wittman, now the coach of the Wizards.

“It’s nice when you play, honestly, a team that’s not in the playoffs and talk to the coach after the game. I asked what their reasoning [is] for choosing one or the other. It’s been interesting the comments I’ve gotten back.”

What kind of information?

“Good information,” Rivers smiled. “They’ve always helped, and they’re open for the most part,” Rivers said of his postgame chats with the coaches. “They’re not going to tell you their secrets but they’re going to tell you some of their thoughts so they’re helpful.”

It’s not just Wittman, either. On the current four-game homestand that ends against Brooklyn, the Celtics have played Detroit [Lawrence Frank], Cleveland [Byron Scott] and Washington [Wittman]. All three teams will be home in two weeks when the playoffs begin. And all three have head coaches with direct ties to Rivers.

“That’s huge because otherwise, I wouldn’t ask, to be honest,” Rivers said. “So, if you have a relationship with a coach, it helps. And there’s also a lot of coaches not coaching right now that you talk to a lot. You even ask them, ‘Who would you guard or how would you attack?’ It’s good getting somebody outside of us because they see us entirely different than we see ourselves.”

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Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I’m against what the Jets are doing’ 01.13.11 at 10:55 am ET
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Doc Rivers said Kevin Garnett is 'very close' to a return from a strained calf. (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning, following Wednesday’s night’s 119-95 rout of the Kings. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Rivers started the conversation by giving his opinion of the trash-talking going on in the lead-up to Sunday’s Patriots-Jets playoff game. He said, “I can’t wait for the game,” but he didn’t support the Jets’ disrespectful comments. “It’s stuff obviously I don’t like,” he said. “But it’s who they are. And that’s what they’ve been all year. … I’m against what the Jets are doing, because I do think it — I don’t know if it motivates you, but it may give you that extra, a little bit more, so who knows?”

The Celtics snapped a two-game losing streak with Wednesday’s win. It followed Monday’s 108-102 loss to the Rockets in which the Celtics’ effort was lacking, according to Rivers. “In an 82-game season, you’re going have some of those [letdowns],” he said. “I didn’t feel like we would have one last night, because of what happened against Houston. … I just thought we’d be ready last night.”

Kevin Garnett remains out after straining his right calf two weeks ago vs. the Pistons. “He is day-to-day, very close, but just not ready yet,” Rivers said.

Rivers said he feels sympathy for Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, whose team was hammered by the Lakers, 112-57, in losing for the 21st time in 22 games on Tuesday. However, he doesn’t think LeBron James deserves the type of criticism he’s received for abandoning Cleveland.

“No it’s not unfair,” he said. “It was legal. He became a free agent and he left. And there’s nothing wrong with what he did. What did they have, seven years, in LeBron’s mind to get it right, to get him the players he wanted for them to win. And in his opinion, they never did that. And so, he had every right to do what he did. Obviously, you knew if LeBron left it would wreak havoc on that team, and it has. It tells you one thing, is how good LeBron was. He’s the only guy that really left the team, and man, it’s amazing what’s happened.”

Rivers raved about the iPad, which he uses to watch video and check stats. “It is absolutely amazing how often I’m on it,” he said. “Way too much.”

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Doc on Scott firing: ‘That’s our league’ 11.12.09 at 3:23 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  When he heard the news on Thursday that Byron Scott had been fired after a 3-6 start in New Orleans, Doc Rivers couldn’t help but think he had seen this script before.

It was November 2003 and the Orlando Magic decided to make a coaching change after a 1-10 start. It was Doc Rivers who was shown the door.

“That’s too bad,” Rivers said following Thursday’s practice. “It’s amazing that you can make a decision that quickly on a guy that was Coach of the Year a year-and-a-half ago. So, that’s our league.

“He matched me, basically. I was [11], so I lasted [two] longer, unfortunately. It just gave me [two] more losses,” Rivers added with a hearty laugh.

To be completely accurate, this isn’t even the first time this has happened to Scott.

In Dec. 2003, with his team languishing near .500 at 22-20, the Nets replaced him with assistant Lawrence Frank, who now is the second-longest tenured head coach in the East.

What makes it even more similar is the fact that both Scott and Rivers earned coach of the year honors only to be fired later on.

Rivers was coach of the year in 2000 with Orlando, leading a team that was picked dead last in the Eastern Conference to a near playoff berth. Scott earned his award in 2008, ironically the same season Rivers led his team to 66 wins and the NBA title.

That season, Scott led the Hornets to 56 wins and a berth in the Western Conference semis before bowing out to the Spurs.

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