|Doc Rivers: ‘We are really right at the threshold’||02.13.13 at 9:31 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers touched on just about every issue facing his team — and there are many — prior to his team’s final game before the NBA All-Star break: 1) the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Leandro Barbosa (who he “absolutely” wants back next season); 2) the search for a point guard (or any warm body, for that matter); 3) losing Barbosa, Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo in the locker room (a bigger deal than people think); 4) his depleted roster (“We are really right at the threshold”); 5) whether we’ll see more Fab Melo (we won’t); 6) similarities between Rondo and reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson (few beyond the ACL tear); 7) Michael Jordan‘s 50th birthday (“I wish they were all like that”), he hit them all. Here goes:
On Leandro Barbosa’s absence: “You don’t know a player or a coach or anybody until you actually coach with them or play with them, and he’s one of those guys you just like in your locker room — forget the basketball part. His spirit has been really good for us, and losing that, that’s big. And then he was our wild card. It’s good to have a wild card. When you throw him in, it could go either way, but you knew he was going to be aggressive.”
On point guard prospects: “In the last 48 hours, [Celtics president] Danny [Ainge] and I have probably covered every human being that’s breathing and can dribble and shoot. We’re just going to take our time. At the end of the day today, that’s basically what we came to. You don’t want to rush anything. We don’t have a lot of flexibility cap-wise. We’re just going to wait. If somebody shakes loose or you can get somebody, we will, but until then we’re stretched at the guard spot.”
|Doc Rivers ‘very concerned’ about Nemo after effects||02.10.13 at 5:55 pm ET|
As Nemo was belting New England Friday night and Saturday morning, all Doc Rivers could do was stay inside in his Boston home, cook up a batch of gumbo and watch – what else – basketball.
“I cooked some gumbo,” Rivers said when asked how he kept himself busy. “I went out on the blizzard night because my oldest [Jeremiah] was in. He’s from Florida and he’s never been in one. So I thought he should experience it. We walked about a half block and he wanted to turn around — that was disappointing. But it was cool. It was really neat seeing the city with no one in it, at least no cars. It was great.”
While the Bruins did everything in their power to get in Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay before the NHL, city of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts stepped, Rivers likewise thought there might be some way to get his team out to Waltham for a practice.
“Trust me, we tried everything we could [Saturday], even into the evening I had guys in our [director of] security, Mr. Phil Lynch, thought it would be very dangerous, and he was right, which I hate to say that,” Rivers said. “So I’m very concerned. We even contemplated going this morning on a 6 o’clock game, it’s just tough when you have two days off. What actually concerned me more is that Denver was playing last night, because you knew they would come in with rhythm.
“But there’s nothing you can do. We came earlier than usual this evening [to TD Garden], and actually went over stuff at a real pace. I don’t know what that does, but it makes me feel better.”
But not much. Rivers knows his team will have a monumental challenge in handling the Nuggets, winners of nine straight, including a victory in Cleveland Saturday night. The Nuggets didn’t get into Boston until 3 a.m. Sunday, not leaving much time for coach George Karl and the Nuggets to get ready. Still, the Nuggets (33-18) are impressive, just 5.5 games behind Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division.
“Because they run, they play together,” Rivers said when asked to explain their success. “I love watching them, I tell George that all the time. They are genderless when you watch them play — nobody cares. They have six guys in double figures. [Kenneth Faried] led the team in attempts or second in attempts [Saturday]; he could take two attempts and he doesn’t care. They don’t care and that’s what you see when you watch them play. It’s very difficult team to load on. We load on a couple guys per game, [but] we’re sitting trying to pick which guy do we do that to tonight. It’s just hard.”
Rivers was asked if that formula could play well for the Celtics.
“I don’t know if we’ll have that balance because we have a guy named Paul Pierce on our team that’s pretty good, and Kevin Garnett,” said Rivers. “After those two, the balance should look like theirs.”
|Doc Rivers: Lakers ‘have more firestorms going on’||02.07.13 at 8:04 pm ET|
Looks like the words of Kobe Bryant worked wonders on the right shoulder of Dwight Howard.
“We don’t have time for it to heal,” Bryant told ESPN on Wednesday, a day before the Lakers’ showdown with the Celtics in Boston. “We need some urgency.”
Howard responded Thursday.
“That’s his opinion; that’s it,” Howard told ESPN. “He’s not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. That’s his opinion.”
Doc Rivers, obviously aware of this dynamic, figured Bryant’s words would be enough to get Howard back in the lineup Thursday.
“He’s playing,” he said without hesitation. “We’ve only prepared for one way.”
Rivers was right as Howard returned from a three-game absence as he deals with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Just another turn in the NBA’s longest and most prestigious rivalry.
“They still wear that same color. And we wear the same color,” Rivers replied when asked about the current state of the rivalry before Thursday’s game. “Through all of it, it’s still the same thing, you enjoy the game because they are fun. Kobe [Bryant is] there; Kevin [Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] are there. It always will be fun.”
Then he threw a good-natured jab at the Lakers.
“It’s more, we’re just playing right now; we’re not dealing with anything,” Rivers said a week after losing Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. “They have more firestorms going on. Give them credit, they’ve won six out of seven through it. In some ways, it may be helping them.”
Speaking of big men, Rivers said he’s not worried about Kevin Garnett‘s minutes after scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 32 minutes Wednesday in Toronto.
“It’s not a game-to-game thing with Kevin’s minutes, it’s more the accumulative of the year,” Rivers said. “We’ve had eight overtimes, I think, that hasn’t helped at all with him. So it’s just, we get through the year and try to keep him as fresh as possible.”
Meanwhile… Celtics players presented Rivers with the game ball from his 400th regular-season win as Celtics coach on their flight home from Toronto on Wednesday night. Garnett and Pierce were among those to honor Rivers on the flight, something Rivers acknowledged Thursday.
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|Doc Rivers is sick and tired of ‘silly’ trade rumors||02.05.13 at 5:24 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The always media savvy Doc Rivers knows as well as anyone that trade rumors are going to happen in this day and age in the NBA.
But what really gets his goat is when those rumors spring out of nowhere and he’s not even remotely familiar with them. With reports swirling that the Clippers may be interested in Kevin Garnett and with Garnett reportedly saying he’d only waive his “no-trade” clause if Paul Pierce were also dealt out of town, Rivers said Tuesday he’d finally heard and seen enough.
“Really, really I would like to say that sometimes, I like you guys [local media], sometimes some of the stuff that happens is just silly. It really is. When I wake up in the morning and I hear a trade rumor I haven’t heard in my office that’s silly. And that’s what happens.”
Does he address it with the team?
“I don’t even address it,” he said before Tuesday’s practice before the team left for Wednesday night’s game in Toronto. “I really don’t. I rarely do. I don’t 99.9 percent of the time because some of it is so silly.”
The “Inside Track” in the Boston Herald reported Monday that Rivers, Chauncey Billups, Garnett and Pierce had dinner recently as the Clippers were in town to play the Celtics.
“I heard one report, I honestly did, that me, Chauncey, Kevin and Paul had dinner,” Rivers said. “I was like, ‘Well, I wish I would’ve known about it. That would’ve been terrific because I would’ve made them pay and I could’ve had a free dinner.’ It’s just silly what goes on.
“I don’t honestly think it’s [local media]. I think someone can sit behind a computer and write something. The problem is that you guys have to report on it, which you shouldn’t do, but you do and it becomes an issue.”
|Grant Hill on Doc Rivers: ‘He’s a great communicator’||02.04.13 at 10:45 am ET|
On an afternoon when Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro didn’t exactly cover himself in glory, his veteran wingman Grant Hill had high praise for the coach in the locker room across the hall.
Del Negro opted not to foul Celtics Courtney Lee or Paul Pierce in the final 26.6 seconds of a 103-101 game. As a result, Lee delivered the ball to Pierce, who dribbled the clock down before sinking a game-clinching 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining. And the Clippers coach wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“I wouldn’t foul him there,” said Del Negro. “I wouldn’t want to foul Paul Pierce there. It was right on the number. We’ve done it both ways. If we get a stop there, we have three or four seconds to go. We’ve got plenty of time in a two-point game. If I was going to do it, I would’ve foul Courtney Lee early right when he got the ball, but you play the percentages. We went back and forth with it. We just felt like we could get it done.”
Lee (88.6 FT%) is actually shooting better from the free throw line this season than Pierce (78.8 FT%), and while the latter has made just 38.3 percent of his isolation attempts this winter, even if Pierce missed his shot with 2.6 seconds left, the Clippers would still have had to track down a long rebound and call timeout.
“If coach addressed that,” said Hill, “then I don’t need to address it.”
The 40-year-old Hill played two seasons against Celtics coach Doc Rivers as a player and then three-plus years under the former Magic coach in Orlando from 2000-03.
“Doc’s a good friend and somebody who I’ve enjoyed getting to know — him and his family. I competed against him as a player and obviously played a little bit for him,” said Hill, who of course attended Duke, where Doc’s son Austin Rivers played his lone college season. “He’s just a good man. He’s come up here and had tremendous success, and you’re happy that he’s been able to establish himself as one of the better coaches in the league.”
|Doc Rivers on possibly adding Greg Oden: ‘He’ll come with a long list of scenarios’||02.03.13 at 1:11 pm ET|
Coach Doc Rivers, general manager Danny Ainge and the Celtics may very well be interested in adding Greg Oden to their roster but they’re doing a job of not going overboard in expressing their enthusiasm after meeting with him on Saturday while the rest of the team had the day off.
“I got the Clippers tonight,” Rivers said before Sunday’s game with the Clippers. “I said hi to him, reminisced about high school days when I watched some AAU, but other than that, I can tell you I thought far more about the guys we are playing tonight than next year.
“We really haven’t talked about [additions]. Honestly. We obviously can, because we need a body. But we really haven’t talked about it much at all. Nothing really. What I think Danny is doing is probably doing all the work right now and I’m sure this week maybe, or who knows in two weeks, he’ll come with a long list of scenarios.”
The Celtics are in the market for a big man after losing Jared Sullinger for the season to back surgery on Friday. Rivers said he has only heard from Sullinger via text since the surgery and expects him out of New England Baptist Hospital this weekend.
Other Sunday pregame notes: Eric Bledsoe started for Chris Paul (knee), who missed his seventh game in nine contests Sunday. “In some ways, they are harder to guard and some ways they are not. Obviously, Chris Paul is fantastic. But when he plays, at least you know where the ball is at a lot, because it’s in his hands and that helps you somewhat defensively. When he doesn’t play, the ball is going all over the place, and they are in some ways difficult to guard.”
As for Doc Rivers’ Super Bowl prediction: “Oh, San Fran; it’s not even really close. It won’t be close, it’ll be a blowout,” he said, before hinging his bet bigtime. “Three points. No I do think San Fran, but who knows? I think they are the better team, but clearly I don’t know enough about football. That’s why I’m here.”
|Paul PIerce on Jeff Green: ‘That’s the Jeff we pretty much envisioned’||02.02.13 at 1:53 am ET|
Jeff Green has picked a good time to show his best side.
Green had three monster slams and 17 points off the bench as the Celtics beat the Magic, 97-84, Friday at TD Garden. Hours before the game, the team was informed that another player was lost for the season.
With the loss of Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, it was Green who took advantage of a newly-discovered spread offense. Green played aggressive and fearless defense on LeBron James on Sunday against the Heat. On Wednesday, he led the Celtics over the Kings. On Friday, he was the energy force of a Celtics team that made it back to .500 at 23-23.
“You know, we’re spreading the floor for him which helps too,” Doc RIvers said. “And that helps. But he’s just been aggressive. We’re getting the ball to him in the open court, which I think is really important for him because of his speed, the defense can’t set, and it gets him to the rim, which is good. Yeah, so he’s doing great and we’ve got to keep him thinking about rebounds. That’s important for us.”
And when the lead shrank from 16 points to three, it was Green who again provided the spark with a one-handed jam.
“Yeah, and the defense obviously is what got us out on the break, and I thought that changed the game,” Rivers said. “We went small in that stretch. I got on Paul again; Paul we just want him to stay being a scorer. I think he’s trying to create too much right now. His scoring will create for us.”
Courtney Lee also flew to the basket for a dunk in the fourth quarter, and like Green, started from the baseline. Which dunk was better?
“Definitely mine, definitely mine,” Lee joked. “But Jeff, he soars through the air man. He does the Statue of Liberty so…you can see how high he’s elevated, and he get his elbow off the ground when he do that. So I’m going to give him credit. I’ve seen Top 5 plays of the season, I think he was on there like 3 or 4 times so he got it.”
“It’s great,” added Paul Pierce. “He’s been very aggressive, he’s getting easy baskets out on the break. He’s been attacking the rim in the half court and that’s the Jeff we pretty much envisioned you know coming into the season. I think we are doing a good job of finding him in his spots. And he’s taking his time and really getting the job done.”
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