|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||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||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)
|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.
|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.
|Doc’s encouraging report on Sheed, KG||01.14.10 at 7:44 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is ‘hopeful’ that Rasheed Wallace can return from a sore left forefoot next Monday when the team hosts Dallas at TD Garden. Entering Thursday’s game with Chicago, Wallace had missed the last two games and was able to work out before the game.
Meanwhile, Rivers said there’s an ‘outside chance’ Kevin Garnett could return on Jan. 22 against Portland. Garnett has been out since Dec. 22 with a hyperextended right knee.
Rivers reiterated that guard Marquis Daniels won’t be ready until after the All-Star break following surgery on his left thumb.
Glen Davis played Thursday night with a minor injury of his own as he banged his thumb in Wednesday’s blowout win over New Jersey. The thumb was swollen following the game but he treated it and was cleared to play in the game against the Bulls.
|Fast Break: Celtics-Nets||01.13.10 at 10:05 pm ET|
At times this season the Celtics have struggled against mediocre teams. Fortunately for them the Nets aren’t mediocre. They’re awful. It’s been a long time since epic Nets failures of the past like Dennis Hopson and Dave Feitl roamed what is now called the Izod Center. Time and the Jason Kidd era may have made people forget that stretch of futility, but this year’s Nets seem determined to outdo even the worst of those teams
The final score was 111-87 but in truth the Celtics could have named the number because the Nets clearly didn’t want to be there. At one point in the second quarter after Brook Lopez had rebounded a missed free throw, Rajon Rondo snuck around behind Lopez and literally ripped the ball from his hands. Lopez outweighs Rondo by almost 100 pounds.
The Celtics will take any kind of win they can get right now, but it can’t be minimized that the Nets were an embarrassment.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce/Rajon Rondo (tie). There is no rule that says we can’t have co-players of the game and while Pierce was scoring 24 points, Rondo was dishing out 14 assists. Pierce exposed the Nets lack of interior defense early when he went to the basket and dunked while three Nets watched. Rondo simply ran the team perfectly, while also keeping his teammates from trying to get their scoring averages all at once.
Turning Point: The opening tip. The Nets had no chance in this game and to the Celtics credit, they didn’t give them any either. Early in the game Ray Allen went up for a jump shot and there wasn’t a New Jersey defender within five feet of him. It’s one thing to be devoid of talent, it’s another to not compete.
* The NBA sent a curious mixed message with their decision to fine Doc Rivers $25,000 and also rescind the Flagrant 1 foul on Glen Davis from Monday night’s game against the Hawks. In effect Rivers was fined for protesting a call the league later overruled.
* Speaking of Davis, he scored 13 points for the second straight game, which seems like a solid step in the right direction. But late in the game he was fouled hard by newest Net Kris Humphries and it appeared to bother his surgically-repaired thumb.
* Tony Allen threw down an incredible one-handed alley-oop dunk off a pass from Paul Pierce in which he appeared to start his leap from behind the basket.
* Brian Scalabrine had another strong game, scoring 11 points and adding four points and four rebounds. Scalabrine has had a difficult season but if he can build on these last two games he might be able to get back on the right track.
* Bill Walker finally got some playing time and played well in six minutes of mop-up action. There has been a small outcry for Walker to get more minutes but barring any type of injury situation it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this season. The knee surgery he underwent in training camp set him back and he has now fallen behind J.R. Giddens in the young-player derby, which is a dubious honor since Giddens doesn’t play much either.
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