|Doc Rivers Q&A: ‘Kevin was phenomenal’||09.28.10 at 3:31 pm ET|
NEWPORT, R.I. – With a three-plus hour opening practice in the books. Doc Rivers spoke to the media at Salve Regina University, host of the Celtics training camp until the end of week. Here are a few highlights:
How was the level of conditioning?
“They didn’t hold up very well, honestly. It was a long practice, a lot of talking as you can tell (Rivers was nursing a hoarse voice). We won’t go three hours every day but we needed it. I think we’re not in great shape, personally. I think we’ve come back in the condition we want.”
How was Shaquille O’Neal’s first practice?
“Shaq was great, actually. He looked fine.”
A year ago Kevin Garnett was limping through the first day of camp. A big difference a year later?
“Kevin was phenomenal, really, yeah. Explosive.”
Warm in the gym today (and it was — must’ve been close to 90 degrees). Was that done on purpose?
“No, it’s too warm. That didn’t help practice, honestly. Way to warm — feels like the Garden in the 1980s.”
What did you see out of Jermaine O’ Neal?
“Just one practice, you know? What did I see? He’s gonna help us.”
How hard was it for Kendrick Perkins to watch practice?
“I’m sure it was hard, it was hard for me to watch practice at times. That’s going to be tough for Perk. I’ve been there. That’s going to be really tough, a tough thing to do. He’s a great kid, he’ll get through it, but it’s not going to be easy.”
What will Von Wafer’s role be?
“He’s got to make his role. He’s young, he’s got a lot of guys in front of him right now. He’s a guy coming off the bench and being a good practice player until he can get in front of somebody.”
Comments made by Big Baby at Media Day (doesn’t know his role)?
“I think he’s living up to [The Big Baby moniker] again … if Baby doesn’t know what his role is by now, I guess he’ll be sitting down a lot. It’s just that simple.”
|Paul Pierce on Doc Rivers’ return: ‘That was huge’||at 11:48 am ET|
In our countdown of the Celtics 10 most important offseason developments, we gave the top spot to Doc Rivers‘ decision to return to the bench. Paul Pierce backed that up at media day Monday
“I think the most important thing was Doc coming back,” Pierce said. “That was huge. It would have been a tougher decision on me truthfully. It would have been a domino effect. If you had seen Doc leave, I honestly believe that we probably wouldn’t have re-signed Ray [Allen]. We probably wouldn’t have went after Shaq, re-signed Nate [Robinson]. We probably would have seen rebuilding here”
Pierce also acknowledged that he wouldn’t have wanted to be involved with another rebuilding effort at this point in his career.
|Why Doc Rivers is the ‘perfect coach’ for C’s||09.27.10 at 11:53 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics head coach Doc Rivers believes he enters the season with the most talented group he’s ever coached, with more depth than the 2008 team that won the NBA title.
“You could make the case the 2008 team had more talent because they were younger. Kevin [Garnett] was at the peak of his health at that point so that has changed just a little bit. We’re hoping that all the guys on the bench are as good as their names. We don’t know that, either.”
One thing Rivers does know is the “O’Neal Brothers” – as he labeled the unrelated Shaquille and Jermaine on Monday – gives the Celtics as much in size as name recognition and the two will fight for the starting center’s job while Kendrick Perkins rehabs his right knee.”
Rivers has Delonte West on the bench. He has Nate Robinson on the bench. He Marquis Daniels on the bench. No team north of Miami can bring the depth to the court that the Celtics will bring this season.
“But I like the group as far as talent,” Rivers added. “A lot of the guys we’ve added, they’ve won. They’ve done a lot of winning if they haven’t been the winner [of the NBA title] and they are tough. A lot of them are tough guys, and I think that is good for our team.”
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said Monday he believes Rivers is the “perfect coach” for the veteran group of superstars he’s assembled to make another run at the franchise’s 18th NBA title. Rivers, Ainge and the rest of the Celtics spoke at Media Day about how ready and primed this group is to make it back to the promised land.
“Yeah, we’ll see about that, that’s for sure,” Rivers laughed when told what Ainge said. “We have a lot of personalities, there’s no doubt about that, probably more than we’ve ever had. Having said that, I also think this is the most talented group we’ve had, as far as deep, on the bench.”
The Celtics are trying to get back to the NBA Finals again next June for the third time in four seasons and avenge their Game 7 loss last June to the Lakers. The Celtics lead the Lakers 17 titles to 16.
Rivers went back with his coaching staff in August and made them all watch just how close they were to No. 18.
“I don’t think you ever get over it,” Rivers said. “I made my staff watch it. We watched it together about a month ago. So, I don’t think you ever get over it. Whenever I see anything [involving Game 7], they always show the damn celebration and all that. That’s not anything I want to watch. Hell, I’m not over Game 7 Celtics-Atlanta Hawks , so I’m certainly not going to be over this.
“It does in some ways. It wants you to get it started again so you can get back there. So yeah, in that way it does. But other than that, you have to move forward. It has to push you a little bit. There’s no doubt.”
One thing Rivers did take from watching again was just how big a role the third-quarter injury to Paul Pierce played in the final devastating outcome.
“It’s easier to watch it the second time,” Rivers said. “It’s still emotional, it always will be. You watch it and you looked at all the opportunities you did have in that in that game. You saw some things you didn’t see. I didn’t realize the Paul injury was bigger, that little injury, was bigger than I thought it was during the game.
“I think [Celtics' lead] was 12 when he went out. It was only a three-minute period, but when he came back in it was four or six and that was the game. That was in the third quarter and I thought that was the turning point in the game. Nothing in the fourth quarter was different than what I saw. It was more the third quarter I thought changed the game.
In the wake of Game 7 in the locker room, Rivers also admitted Monday that he thought that was it for this group together under his direction.
“Yeah, because I wasn’t sure of what I was going to do at that time,” he said. “I knew Rasheed [Wallace] wasn’t coming back, he told me that before the game. I was, at that time, leaning heavily toward not coming back. Yeah, in the locker room I actually thought that was going to be the last time, at that point, that I would see all these guys together.
“And even if I did come back, I knew it wouldn’t be the same team. I knew we were going to have to make changes. I knew at that time, and no one else knew, the extent of Perk’s injury so I knew he wouldn’t be back until late in next year.”
But he does get another chance to prove – as Pierce believes – that he’s one of the best coaches in the NBA.
Just how many games can this group win this regular season?
“How many games we play, 82? Ok,” Rivers laughed.
Rivers would be just happy with 16 in the playoffs when it matters most.
|Nate Robinson on Twitter, his role and ‘Kazaam’||09.23.10 at 4:32 pm ET|
QUINCY — If you’re one of Nate Robinson‘s 153,448 followers on Twitter, then you know the backup Celtics guard isn’t afraid to share his thoughts.
“Nate’s talking? That’s a news flash,” Doc Rivers quipped at the team’s annual golf fundraiser to support The Shamrock Foundation.
And Twitter is one of Robinson’s favorite places to chirp. He’s posted 79 tweets (@nate_robinson) since Monday, including what appeared to be his own telephone number followed by “text me NOW” last night.
That behavior made you wonder if Robinson was living up to his self-proclaimed nickname, Donkey, but it turns out that was a prank on one of his friends.
“That wasn’t my phone number,” explained Robinson, laughing. “That’s my friend’s number. … I don’t put up my information. I just joke around with my friends. Hopefully, none of my friends put my number up.”
When he first started Twitter, Robinson actually did post his personal phone number, accidentally, while attempting to send Quentin Richardson a private message.
“All of a sudden, I was like, ‘Why are all of these people calling my phone?’” he said. “It was pretty funny — but never again.”
On Twitter, pretty much no topic is off limits for Robinson. He’s discussed everything from relationship advice to potential tattoos to nutrition tips.
“It takes time out of your day,” he said. “When you’re bored, you can go on Twitter, and by the time you’re done, three or four hours go by. It’s fun. You keep up with the world, I guess. I think it’s one of the best creations of the last two years.”
So, who does Robinson follow on Twitter? Other than his teammates, opponents and a slew of football players, his three favorites are rapper Fabolous (“He’s got a lot of interesting things to say”), boxer Floyd Mayweather (“he’s pretty funny”) and comedian Kevin Hart (“a lot of comedians are pretty funny, because it’s their job”).
Nate Robinson: On basketball
When he’s not tweeting, Robinson finds time to play a little basketball.
After seeing limited playing time for the Celtics following last season’s trade from New York, he had at least one breakout performance in each of the final three series of Boston’s playoff run, including the 12-point performance in Game 4 of the finals that led to the infamous “Shrek and Donkey” press conference.
Building off that momentum, the 5-foot-9 former University of Washington star hopes to contribute to this year’s team, in any way he can.
“I love the game of basketball,” he said. “That’s never going to change. For me to get a training camp in with the Celtics, that’s only going to help me out with knowing exactly what Doc wants from me, how to play and getting in where I fit in, which is me playing with energy. I don’t try to do too much. I’ve just got to play my game.”
Nothing is set in stone for Robinson this season, especially with the re-acquisition of Delonte West. They’ll be battling for playing time behind Rajon Rondo, but Rivers believes that Robinson’s participation in a Celtics training camp can only help.
“It’ll be important,” said Rivers. “It’ll help him understand what we’re running better, and it’ll help us understand him a little better as well. It’ll be good for both of us.”
Nate Robinson: On Shaq
Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal share adjacent lockers this season, and they’re getting to know each other — perhaps a little too well.
“I’ve been a Shaq fan since I was a little boy, so I’ve been teasing him about all the movies he’s been in,” Robinson said. “He’s awesome. His locker is right next to mine, so it’s kind of cool. Every day, he comes in with these Superman pajamas. I’m kinda getting tired of those already, but he’s a real fun guy. He’s one of those guys who I can always tell my kids, ‘I played with one of the all-time greats.’”
Oddly, Shaq (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) doesn’t follow Robinson on Twitter yet. Maybe it’s all those digs about Shaq’s movie career, like, “Yo, my locker is right next to Kazaam” …
|Celtics countdown||09.22.10 at 10:50 pm ET|
We’ve reached the end of our countdown of the 10 most important developments of the offseason, and not a moment too soon. The Celtics will officially put the summer behind them when they open training camp with their media day on Monday.
Here’s the full list:
|The comedy stylings of Ron Artest and Doc Rivers||09.17.10 at 8:23 am ET|
You may remember that Ron Artest didn’t care much for Doc Rivers comments that the Celtics starting five has never lost a playoff series when healthy. “Doc got one million excuses,” is how Artest put it on Twitter.
With training camp right around the corner, Artest is letting this one go. “Me and Doc, we should start a comedy act,” he now says.
Maybe they should team up for Shaquille O’Neal’s All-Star Comedy Jam at the Wilbur.
|Artest: ‘Doc got one million excuses’||08.31.10 at 1:03 am ET|
On his Twitter page, Lakers forward Ron Artest took issue with suggestions that his team’s triumph over the Celtics in seven games was impacted by the absence of Boston center Kendrick Perkins in the decisive Game 7 after the 7-footer blew out his knee in the previous contest.
Artest seemingly took issue with Celtics coach Doc Rivers‘ contention that the Celtics have never had the opportunity to defend the 2007-08 title with the same core group at full health, noting that the Lakers have been without Andrew Bynum in their title runs.
“Boston lost to lakers because of [the] Kendrick Perkins injury. What about in  when Bynum was injured. What about this year Bynum was injured,” Artest wrote in three consecutive tweets. “What about Kobe played with a broke finger …. What about Ron [Artest's] defense [w]hen the Boston staff said Ron [A]rtest was too slow. … Doc got one million excuses.”
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