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Rivers on D&C: Rest is more important 04.08.10 at 10:06 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about how his team is playing, whether he had a problem with Tony Allen or Rasheed Wallace’s actions in the Cleveland game and how hard he’s going to push for the third spot in the Eastern Conference.

Let’s talk about last night’s game [against Toronto]. You’ve been up and down, that was the good Celtics team?

I liked it. We didn’t use a lot of minutes with guys, which was really good. Michael Finley was absolutely terrific last night. You get a performance like that off your bench, especially in the fourth quarter where you can afford to not play Paul Pierce in the fourth quarter, at this point in the season that’s good.

Going back to Sunday, the Cleveland game. How big was that game?

I’ll put it like this. I didn’t think going into the game that it was a desperate game. I felt that once we got the big lead and Cleveland made the charge, then it became a desperate game. It turned into a desperate game because of the way the game it transpired. It worked out that way and obviously we won the game, so that was good.

I didn’t feel that way going into it. I just felt the way we played for three quarters we could have beaten anyone, and we showed that. And then we stopped playing. They made an unbelievable run, or LeBron [James] made an unbelievable run and then you felt like we have to get this win somehow.

Did you have an issue with the way Tony Allen handled himself at the end of the game [with James]?

I really didn’t because I don’t think Tony started that. I think LeBron said something to Tony and Tony responded. Basically what Tony was saying is, “I don’t care who you are.” He said it in more colorful words, but I don’t think Tony Really started that talk. I don’t mind a guy not backing down. And Tony will never back down.

What about Rasheed? Should he have backed down?

I don’t know what exactly happened with Rasheed. I know he felt the official said something to him. Once that happened I could see that Rasheed was not coming back, let’s say. Once you get to that stage where you’re emotionally over the line. Usually when our players go up to him when he starts going off on officials, he backs away from the players. Once I saw where he was at with our own players and then with me, I knew we just had to get him out of the game, sit him down and play him another day.

I waited until the next day and Rasheed understands the next day those are things that he can’t do, that he shouldn’t do. But he can’t himself  and unfortunately that was one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc Rivers on Dennis & Callahan 01.21.10 at 10:49 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the guys on Dennis & Callahan to talk about Wednesday night’s loss to the Pistons, chemistry issues and Glen Davisverbal altercation with a fan last night.

Earlier in the year, it might have been tough to find things to work on in practice. It’s probably not so tough now, right?

No, it never really is, even when you’re playing well. It’s not a big difference. When you’re playing well there’s things that you see as a coach and when you’re playing poorly there’s obvious things that everyone sees.

Let’s deal with the obvious ones. What bothers you the most?

The turnovers worry me the most because a lot of them were forced. A lot of them were because of bad execution. Those are things we can fix. The switching and the zones, things you don’t see a lot, we should be able to handle it. We’ve dealt with that all year but we haven’t seen it lately so that’s something we’ll go over as well. That’s something Portland does as well, with their size.

Who’s in charge of getting your guys set when a team switches from man to zone? Is it the point guard?

It’s the point guard but even when he does it if guys don’t go the right spots… I thought [Rajon] Rondo handled it very well. I just thought guys as a group we did. There was a lot of standing around. [Wednesday] was a case a lot like the game before [against Dallas], where we came out in the second half, you could see it, we built a big lead and got comfortable again. Then you turn on a team and it’s tough to turn them off.

What’s the biggest thing for a coach? Is it X’s and O’s or is it chemistry and motivation?

Motivation is always harder. The average person might think you should never have to motivate a person, but it’s not that simple. It’s getting them going that day. The chemistry thing is always a challenge. Every game. Every moment. People forget their roles. People doing different things, trying to do too much at times instead of doing their jobs. X’s and O’s are easy. They’re pretty much black and white. You see what you need to fix and you fix that. It’s all the other things. If you don’t fix the other things the X’s and O’s don’t work because you don’t get guys to function in the right way. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc Rivers on D&C 12.09.09 at 11:02 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly call-in. The guys asked Doc about minutes, rebounding and Kevin Garnett’s hot streak. They also gave the coach the chance to sound off on his favorite ex-ref, Tim Donaghy.

Things are going well, do you worry about pushing them too hard in December and the possibility that they will be spent in April and May?

No, I don’t worry about that. I hear all that talk and I really think it’s silly sometimes. Let’s say you win 25 games in a row and someone says that’s bad for you, I’ve never got that. Obviously if you play your guys 40 minutes a night or something like that, then that’s different. But if you’re playing your guys their normal minutes and they’re winning games, isn’t that what they’re supposed to do. You want to improve. Any team that doesn’t improve during the year is not going to do much in the playoffs. That’s what the regular season is for.

Is it safe to say that with a veteran team, that margin to improve is less than a young team?

Our improvement is not going to come by individual basketball skill. Kevin, Paul [Pierce], Ray [Allen], Rasheed [Wallace] they’re not going to be different players by the end of the year, so our improvement is all about the team part of it.
All about the continuity, all about reading each other on offense and defense and that’s what we’re doing.

I love our pace right now with the practices and the game minutes. If we can continue on this pace that would be great. With injuries that come up during the regular season you know that’s not going to be possible. But if we could stay on this pace, we practice at the right time, we’re pacing ourselves in games as far as minutes, but you’ve been around long enough to know with injuries and things like that, that’s when you are pressed.

Does the division race mean anything?

I’m going to answer your question by saying I don’t know how many we’ve won. There’s your answer now that I think about it.

You may have locked it up last night.

For us it’s more about home court. If you can get home court that’s huge and that’s what we want to get. That’s what we’re looking at. You look at playoff positioning and home court advantage far more than you look at division. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tim Donaghy on D&C, 12/8 12.08.09 at 11:02 am ET
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Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was a guest on the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and talked to the hosts about his method of betting NBA games, whether he thinks NBA players gamble on games (he does), why Rasheed Wallace is so hated by NBA refs and his problems with Doc Rivers.

This book seems like a story about a referee gone bad as much as it is an indictment on the lack of neutrality, integrity and fair competition in the NBA. Is that fair to say?

I think it’s fair to say that there are biases that took place and relationships that allowed me to place winning bets on NBA games.

We’ll get into that, but before we do that, you knew what you were doing was wrong. Your former partner James Battista described you as someone who couldn’t bet successfully on college and pro football, but could on the NBA based on your inside knowledge. Was there a moment where you decided that you would step over the line and bet on games that you were officiating?

Obviously, first of all, I didn’t get into betting on NBA games because I was in a big hole that I needed to climb out. I think it was a situation where over the years I realized that over the years these things were predictable and it was easy for me to place these bets on games knowing that I was going to have a high success rate placing winning bets.

Do you remember the night that you placed your first bet? There had to be a jumping off point where you thought, ‘I know this is wrong. I know I can get into a lot of trouble.’ Do you remember that moment in time?

Yeah I do. It was a situation where I was sitting at a country club with a friend. He had a Philadelphia Daily News and he made a comment to me that, basically, do you know who’s going to win these games? I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say yes. I knew who was refereeing one particular game that night. There was a large point spread and I knew the habits of one particular referee and I told him to bet this game.

That was Dick Bavetta right?

That’s correct.

When you say you know the habits of referees, whether it’s Dick Bavetta specifically or others, tell us what it is you know that allowed you to predict the outcome before the game is tossed in the air?

It wasn’t every night and every game that we bet. But there were relationships that existed, both positive and negative, and I used those relationships to make up my own line on NBA games. I would compare that line to what was in the newspaper and if there was a difference of four or five points I would tell them to bet the game.

What players were on the [negative] list?

There was Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace. Sometimes it had to with an owner. Maybe Mark Cuban [Dallas] or Robert Sarver [Phoenix]. There were situations where I knew personal biases would come into play. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc Rivers on D&C, 11/19 11.19.09 at 10:34 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly chat, and the hosts asked him about his coaching style, how he deals with different players and whether he would go for the win or the tie if he was down by two points. (Click here for complete audio interview.)

Coaches have been in the news lately. As a jumping-off point, do you consider yourself a player’s coach?

Rivers: I’ve heard that for years — what’s a player’s coach? I don’t know if there is such a thing, honestly. There’s coaches who have great relationships with their players, there are those who don’t, but I don’t think that’s what makes them a player’s coach or not. I think the respect factor is huge. If you have respect in the locker room with your players and vice versa then I guess that makes you a player’s coach.

Do you ever toss a table, break a chalkboard or scream bloody murder?

I scream bloody murder. I’ve never been a chalkboard puncher, but I’ve done things where I’ve lost my temper. But I don’t think those are things you can do very often because eventually it will not work. But you have to be demanding. You have to demand a standard, which is what we call it in our locker room. We set a standard. I demand that standard. That’s the part you have to get your players to buy into.

What are the things you live by to set that standard?

The number one thing with me is you have to remain agenda free. It has to be about team and it has to be about winning. If you have those two things and they believe that and it has to be true then they will follow you. It’s not about a star. It’s not about anything else but winning, and you tell them that up front. That doesn’t mean the decisions you make are always right. When you make a decision and it’s always about what’s good for the team then it’s very difficult for someone to question you on that.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t do something different and that may be true. I tell my players all the time, I’m not going to do right all the time, but I know if you do right all the time it will still work. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc Rivers on D&C, 11/5 11.05.09 at 10:34 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about how important his bench has been, the now-infamous Rajon Rondo vs. Chris Paul tiff, how getting more sleep has helped the Celtics, and his problems with Tim Donaghy.

Does it bother you when people start talking about winning 70 games?

No, it’s unrealistic, but it’s talk and people can talk about it, obviously. But it’s not what we’re focused on, I can tell you that.

On the Minnesota game:

You could see it early on, it was just one of those nights. Nothing was going for us. It didn’t look like we had legs, which happens during the year. Rasheed Wallace, Eddie [House] and Ray [Allen] were wide open on a lot of shots and some of them weren’t even close, so you knew it was one of those nights. Sometimes it’s a good thing when you can win with that, especially down the stretch, the last two or three defensive possessions we held them from scoring, it’s a good sign for your team.

Is it difficult to keep focus?

It’s not difficult at all because we have so many things to do defensively. We have things to do to get better offensively. We have yet to put in things. We’re not getting to the third and fourth options because we just don’t know them well enough yet, so we have a ton of work to do. Read the rest of this entry »

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