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Doc: I like our focus 06.13.10 at 7:57 pm ET
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Every coach likes his team to be focused on the task at hand.

Doc Rivers believes his team spent Sunday in just the right frame of mind, not worried about the fact that win or lose, this will be their final game on the ‘Red Auerbach Parquet’ floor.

“Our guys haven’t talked about that a lot,” Rivers said. “I’ve heard it a lot. I think fans realize we don’t have Games 6 or 7 here so this is our final home game.

“Our guys really are just focused on THE game tonight and I like where our focus is, in this case, over the fans’ focus. I don’t know if players have the chance to look at big picture, or coaches in some ways, and that’s probably good.”

[Doc Rivers believes his team’s focus is where it needs to be.]

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, parquet
Celtics still want to run 06.11.10 at 1:07 pm ET
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There is still a notion that the Celtics want to force the Lakers into a slow, grind-it-out game that prevents them from running. The second part of that statement is true, but the Celtics would prefer to get out in transition when they can and push the tempo.

“Well, we want that for the Lakers, but we want to run, really,” Doc Rivers said Friday. “We want to get out on the break. I think we have to run. They’re too big. They’re long. So we would like to get out in transition more, but they know that, too, and the two things they’ve done better is even when we’re getting stops, they’re getting back now. And on the first two games we thought we could beat them down the floor, and we did. Now they’re getting back. So we just have to keep getting stops and see how many times we can get [Rajon] Rondo out into transition.”

Rivers also is concerned with what he calls “empty possessions,” when his team fails to execute a set and is forced into a tough shot.

“I don’t mind missed shots, but the last two games we’ve had a ton of empty possessions where we — and we call it random, where we came down and really didn’t establish any flow and never got into a set or an execution, and that’s unlike us,” Rivers said. “That’s the only troublesome thing for me right now with our team, and we have to get out of that because it will come down to a one-possession game. If you keep wasting these possessions it’s going to come back and hurt you. I thought it did in Game 3.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers,
Last run for C’s? Maybe not at 12:40 pm ET
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Throughout the Celtics postseason run, the elephant in the room has been the future of the team’s eight free agents, notably Ray Allen. (Paul Pierce also has a player option for next season).

Doc Rivers noted Friday that the team’s uncertain future has not been a regular topic of concersation in the locker room. “No, we don’t talk about it at all,” Rivers said. “I’ve said that — I said it in the middle of the year. I think hopefully we sign Ray back — I think I can say that. If not, I just got fined.”

Rivers also said that he thinks Kevin Garnett will be better next season as he moves further away from his knee surgery. As for the notion that this is the last run for the Celtics, Rivers disagreed. “We don’t think that,” he said. “I think everyone outside of us, a lot of people do.”

Read More: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen,
Satch Sanders on D&H: Bench is C’s only edge at 12:40 pm ET
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Former Celtics player and coach Satch Sanders joined the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the NBA finals. To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Sanders said Doc Rivers‘ use of his bench in Game 4 Thursday night reminded him of Red Auberbach’s strategy during the Celtics’ dynasty in the 1960s, of which Sanders was a key part.

“It was consistent with Auerbach to use that second unit when games were extremely tight or when we were losing,” said Sanders, who won eight NBA titles as a player and briefly coached the C’s in the late 1970s. “Basically, he’d change that whole group up, and we’d get back in many a game. … That’s a good role to play if you’ve got that kind of bench, and certainly Rivers has that kind of bench, and he’s clearly not afraid to use it.”

Sanders said that because the Celtics and Lakers starters match up so evenly, the bench should decide the series. “Boston has a much deeper bench,” he said. “That’s the only edge that they have.”

As for the referees, Sanders said complaining isn’t worth the players’ time and focus. “Forget about the referees,” he advised. “They have a job to do, but you’d better do yours.”

Sanders will be on hand Monday night at TD Garden for The Tradition, the New England Sports Museum’s annual event honoring area sports legends. He will be there to help present former teammate Jo Jo White with the basketball legacy award.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, NBA Finals
Simmons on D&C: Officiating is the headline of finals 06.10.10 at 10:39 am ET
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ESPN columnist Bill Simmons joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning and talked about the quick turnaround from Game 2 in Los Angeles to Game 3 in Boston, the inconsistencies of the officials, and the sloppiness of both teams in the series.

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Game 3:

I was worried about Game 3 because it was 48 hours after Game 2, cross country trip, and it just seemed like, ‘€œUh oh, this is going to be bad.’€ If you look at what happened in the game, Kobe [Bryant] had a bad game, [Paul] Pierce and [Ray] Allen both had bad games, the only old guy who had a good game was [Kevin Garnett] and KG didn’€™t play a lot in Game 2 because he was in foul trouble. My biggest fear about this whole series is that they just wasted an epic KG game and I’€™m not sure how many he has.

On the inconsistency of the officials:

I think for the most part in the finals, the right team is going to win each game. That’€™s what bothered me about Game 3 was basically both teams didn’€™t play well and it came down to officiating. If we’€™ve learned anything from the Celtics team this year, for whatever reason, the officiating determines how they’€™re going to do. ‘€¦ It just seems like so many things are predicated on how the officials decide beforehand, ‘€œThis is what we’€™re going to do tonight.’€

That’€™s my biggest problem with NBA officiating. Why can’€™t they just call it the same way every game? ‘€¦ Should we go to a system where there’€™s just three refs for the entire finals, the same three every game. There just has to be a better solution. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Simmons, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
How Fisher ‘won the game for them’ 06.09.10 at 2:10 am ET
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Rajon Rondo did it in Game 2 and Derek Fisher followed suit in Game 3.

‘€œ[He] won the game for them,’€ Doc Rivers said. ‘€œDerek Fisher was the difference in the game.’€

After the Lakers watched Rondo dominate the fourth quarter on Sunday night, Fisher scored 11 points in the final 12 minutes of the Lakers 91-84 victory on Tuesday.

Fisher shot five-for-seven during that stretch, an instant improvement from 5-for-16 shooting in the first two games. His late burst included a 3-point play that put the Lakers up seven with less than a minute to go.

‘€œWe let Derek Fisher dribble the ball all the way up the court, unattended, get a 3-point play,’€ said Rivers. ‘€œIf you get a stop there, we had two timeouts left, three timeouts at the time, we had plenty of time.’€

Said Glen Davis, ‘€œI think Derek Fisher won the game for them.  He took over the game. [48] seconds left in the game, down by four, our defense ‘€¦ let a guy all the way down the court for a layup, naked. Together as a whole we’€™ve got to do better.’€

Fisher’€™s domination will undoubtedly be a hot topic of conversation as the Celtics prepare for Game 4, trailing 2-1. It may have burned them in Game 3, but there are lessons to be learned moving forward.

‘€œWe’€™ve got to hang in there,” said Rivers. “It’€™s not going to be an easy game. None of them are going to be, and that’€™s what we have to do.”

Read More: Celtics, Derek Fisher, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis
Doc on Lakers whining: ‘Maybe they do different math’ 06.08.10 at 9:39 pm ET
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Doc Rivers took objection with the complaints of several Lakers following Game 2 after Kobe Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, limiting his effectiveness in the final period.

“I’m just miffed and amazed how the other team complained about the fouls since we’ve been the team in foul trouble for two games,” Rivers said Tuesday night prior to Game 3. “Maybe they do different math there or something. I don’t get that one.”

In the Game 1 loss to the Lakers, the Celtics had several players with three fouls before halftime and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each played most of the fourth quarter one foul from disqualification. The Celtics had 28 fouls called on them in Game 1 to 26 for the Lakers. In Game 2, the Lakers actually took 15 more free throw attempts than Boston, 41-26.

Fouls aside, Rivers knows he must keep Kevin Garnett and Pierce on the court at the same time if there’s any hope of finding them rhythm in this series, especially Garnett.

“We just have to keep him on the floor,” Rivers said. “Two of his fouls [from Game 2] were not smart fouls, so he has to do a better job of that. But listen, this is a physical series. Gasol adn Bynum, they’re big adn they’re going to keep attacking, and we just have to figure out a way of keeping them out of foul trouble. It’s huge for us.”

What was just as huge for the Celtics in the wrong direction on Tuesday were the fouls that Pierce and Garnett picked up within the first five minutes of the third quarter.

Pierce picked up his fourth and Garnett his third and the Lakers sensing the kill went immediately to the paint to feed Gasol.

“To win [Game 2] the other night with [Garnett] in foul trouble and Paul not being great offensively, we felt very fortunate,” Rivers said. “We were happy to win, but we have to be better than that.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Lakers, NBA Finals
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