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Doc Rivers: ‘Emotionally, it could go either way’ 04.20.13 at 2:47 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Doc Rivers admitted before Game 1 Saturday that his team didn’t have the best of practices on Friday at Columbia University, on the eve of the team’s first postseason game this year.

He also was very understanding of the players wanting to follow the events going on 200 miles away in Boston.

“[Friday] was a strange day,” Rivers said. “You’re going to practice and you hear guys on the phone and literally everyone is calling home, yelling or you could hear them saying, ‘Stay in the house!’ And we’re going to practice and I even told our staff, we’re going to make a lot of mistakes in practice today. There’s no way their focus is where it should be. And you felt that going into practice. And, honestly, we were right, practice played out that way.

“So I don’t know. Thank gosh it’s over, in that regards. It was good to see everybody in the city happy, hugging and rejoicing. And I’m sure our players had a chance to exhale, because their families are still back there. [Rajon Rondo] was supposed to join us yesterday, and he couldn’t even get out. He was locked in and had to stay in himself. What does that do for us today, I have no idea? I think, emotionally, it could go either way.”

Rivers and his staff are ready to handle the situation, good or bad, during the course of the game.

“Hopefully we can figure out a way, if it’s not going the right way, to gather them right and get it back,” Rivers said. “Thank gosh it’s a four-quarter game because I’m always worried about any team, even if it wasn’t for this, being too emotionally high at the beginning of a game. Because you still have to finish the game. We’ll see.”

Speaking of Rondo, after being locked down on Friday, the injured point guard made his way down to the Big Apple on Saturday and is with the team for the start of the playoffs. Rivers definitely likes him around the team.

“I want him around,” Rivers said. “He’s a good mind. He’s a great, great mind. And he knows the game. He’s a smart kid. People have no idea his IQ, they really don’t. It’s funny right now, even after our shootaround, he’s into it.”

With Pablo Prigioni [sprained ankle] is out for the Knicks, Chris Copeland moves into the staring lineup. The Knicks will go with a starting backcourt of Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert, to go along with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, NBA playoffs
Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘We have to make [Carmelo Anthony] work for it’ 04.18.13 at 11:00 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

With the regular season over and the playoffs starting Saturday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and discussed his experience during the Boston Marathon bombing, the team’s matchup with the Knicks, and how to stop Carmelo Anthony.

When the two explosions went off at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Rivers had just finished up his team’s practice and was planning on heading for the conclusion of the race.

“I just noticed people, literally running around,” Rivers said. “Then my phone rang and I think it was my assistant who told me what was going on. Obviously I didn’t have any hardship personally except for trying to navigate through people. What I witnessed more was just how quickly, in my opinion, the city went to work. I’m not talking just the first responders. What I did get to witness, it felt like hundreds, it wasn’t, but it felt like hundreds of ambulances, fire trucks roaring by me because I was on Huntington Avenue, which is the next block. … I saw a guy in a suit and tie directing traffic and saw guys hugging and saw people just trying to help each other, and that’s what struck me.”

Rivers talked about how his team will not be returning to Boston before the team’s first playoff game on Saturday in New York.

“The playoffs start on Saturday, so just the travel would have been hard and we made that decision,” Rivers said. “So that’s what we’re going to do. It’s an extended road trip, basically. But guys, they call home, they check on people they know, so that will be part of it. One of the things that I’ve never let go [of] and I understand more than anything is that athletes have a human life. A lot of times a guy will have a bad game and fans or the media will just want to say he didn’t play well, but you may know why for real. Maybe he had a personal issue at home that affected him, and this may affect us, but I’m hoping this affects us in a positive way.”

The Celtics finished 41-40 and with the seventh seed and will play Game 1 of their series vs. the second-seeded Knicks on Saturday afternoon. Games 1 and 2 will be at Madison Square Garden. The Celtics have had success in the postseason vs. the Knicks, but Rivers said he doesn’t expect past series to affect this year’s games.

“I hope [past history will help], but I don’t think it will,” Rivers said. “It would be nice if it helped but none of those guys or at least very few of those guys are part of that history. In a lot of ways it’s a brand new team we’re playing and they’re really good. They didn’t win our division and win the amount of games that they won by fluke. They’re a good basketball team.”

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Doc Rivers,
Doc Rivers: ‘You’re angry when you think about it because you love your city’ 04.16.13 at 12:08 pm ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

WALTHAM — Instead of playing a game Tuesday night, the Celtics held practice and reacted to Monday’s Boston Marathon tragedy.

Among those most affected was Jeff Green. The Celtics player, like his coach, live in Boston and very close to the epicenter of Monday’s two explosions on Boylston Street near the finish line.

Green said before Tuesday’s practice that he understood completely the NBA’s decision to cancel Tuesday’s home game against the Pacers at the Garden.

“Everybody has got to be safe,” Green said. “I think it was right to cancel the game out of respect for the families affected.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers also lives in the Back Bay. He was headed into Boston after Monday’s practice in Waltham to watch the Marathon. He said

“I always go down after practice and watch [the Boston Marathon]. I was on my way,” Rivers said. “I had gotten out of the [Prudential] tunnel when the bomb exploded.

“I thought the spirit of Boston was incredible last night. If you’re part of the city, this country, it’s going to be on your mind. This city has an amazing amount spirit. You’re angry, too, when you think about it because you love your city. That bothers you.”

The game against the Pacers was canceled and will not be rescheduled. The Celtics will finish their 81-game schedule on Wednesday night in Toronto and then open the first round of the playoffs this weekend in New York’s Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Boston Marathon, Doc Rivers, Indiana Pacers
Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘This is the time of year where you really want your team together’ 04.11.13 at 10:55 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and discussed Wednesday night’s loss to the Nets, the team field trip to view the movie “42,” and Louisville’s victory over Michigan in the NCAA championship game.

With their most recent loss, the C’s are nearly locked into the No. 7 seed for the playoffs, and will most likely be taking on the Knicks. Though his team’s fate is all but sealed, Rivers said he thinks the last few regular-season games are very important.

“It’s interesting because you’re still concerned about a couple of guys’ rests,” Rivers said. “It’s tough to accomplish things when you’re looking for that. But as far as our practices and our shootarounds, we’re working extremely hard right now on our rhythm, and I think we’re starting to get that.”

In the C’s 101-93 loss to Brooklyn, they did not attempt a single free throw in the first half and were outscored from the line 25-13 for the game.

“I don’t think the officials had anything to do with that,” Rivers said. “I thought there was one play where Jeff Green drove, I thought it was his only drive in the first half, and I thought he got fouled on a shooting foul and didn’t get [the call]. Other than that, it was us. I’ve always said it, that the aggressor gets the calls. It’s human nature and I thought the Nets were attacking and attacking and we didn’t.”

On one of the team’s recent off days, Rivers decided to take his team to a pre-screening of the movie “42.” The film, which is about the life of Jackie Robinson, is being released in North America on Friday.

“They enjoyed it,” Rivers said. “I thought it was a really neat movie. I thought a lot of guys, you could just see their interest in it, so it was a good thing.”

Added Rivers of his reasoning behind the experience: “I didn’t think we should practice, No. 1. But I thought we should be together. I think this is the time of year where you really want your team together as much as possible, just with each other. I didn’t know if it would be motivational, but I thought it would just be learning, it’s a learning experience.”

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Read More: Doc Rivers, Jackie Robinson, Jeff Green, Rick Pitino
Doc Rivers: ‘Obviously, we want to play Miami’ just not early in playoffs at 12:15 am ET
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Five days earlier, after a loss to the Cavaliers at TD Garden, Doc Rivers said, “Of course we would… I’m not that dumb” when asked if the Celtics would like to avoid the defending champs who have raced through the NBA this season, on the way to the league’s best mark.

But after Wednesday’s loss to the Nets, he made a clarifying statement when informed that Milwaukee lost, reducing Boston’s magic number to 1 for clinching seventh-seed and not finishing eighth, which would result in a first-round meeting with Miami.

“That’s good,” Rivers said. “Obviously, we want to play Miami. We do. We just would not like to play them early. I mean, we would love to avoid Miami in the first round and then play them; that would mean we’re doing very well. So, we clearly want to play Miami. We just want to delay it a little bit if we can.”

Now that it appears all but certain the Celtics (40-38) will finish in seventh place in the Eastern conference, they will likely draw the Knicks in the first round. The Celtics playoff spot was all but locked in at seventh Wednesday night when they lost to the Brooklyn Nets at home but the Milwaukee Bucks (37-41) also lost on the road in Orlando. The Bucks and Celtics each have four games remaining.

Atlanta (44-36) moved two games ahead of Boston in the loss column for sixth place with a win in Philadelphia.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Miami Heat, NBA
Doc Rivers: ‘We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs’ 04.10.13 at 8:59 pm ET
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To Doc Rivers, the key to playoff success will be outmaneuvering his opponent. Given the fact that he’s going to be facing either the Knicks or Pacers in the first round, he’s going to need as many options as possible.

Thus, with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green finding their rhythm heading into the playoffs, this gives Rivers and his staff another bullet in the holster.

“I like the ability to have that lineup and other lineups instead of just having this ‘small lineup’ with Jeff at the 4,” Rivers said. “We want to have three lineups – Jeff at the 2, Jeff at the 3, Jeff at the 4. Or if you want to call Paul the 2, I don’t care who you call the 2. I just think it gives us more versatility.

Wednesday against the Nets, Rivers featured the lineup (Pierce, Green, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley) that’s likely going to start the playoffs, of course barring another in an seemingly unending avalanche of injuries.

“This lineup is good,” Rivers said. “It’s important because it gives us a third lineup, because there’s one lineup we can’t go to, and that’s the very big lineup, like two 7-footers. We’re not going to be able to do that. We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs to play multiple styles.”

Before Wednesday at the Garden, the Celtics and Nets hadn’t met since Boston’s cakewalk on Christmas Day when the Celtics beat the Nets, 93-76. A game later, Avery Johnson was fired and PJ Carlesimo was promoted to head coach. The Nets are 31-18 since. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Doc Rivers, John Stockton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Garnett
Why the buddy system is ‘huge’ for Doc Rivers 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.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Byron Scott, Doc Rivers, Lawrence Frank
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