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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.”

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Video: Celtics Saturday practice 06.05.10 at 8:55 pm ET
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Doc Rivers and Celtics players speak to the media prior to their practice session Saturday at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo. This was the last practice the Celtics will have leading up to Game 2.

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Doc: Defense was ‘horrible’ 06.04.10 at 2:40 am ET
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LOS ANGELES -For a defensive-minded team, the Celtics didn’t look like one in their Game 1 loss to the Lakers.

“It was horrible,” Doc Rivers said of the C’s defense following the game. “I thought we hugged up on guys all night. That wasn’t our defense tonight, I can tell you that. Give them credit, they moved the ball, they spaced the floor very well. But we didn’t shrink the floor at all tonight.”

The Celtics were outrebounded 42-31, including 30-23 on the offensive glass. Pau Gasol finished the night with 14 rebounds, while it was Paul Pierce, not Kendrick Perkins or Kevin Garnett, who led the Celtics with nine.

“In the first half, it made the bigs look bad because they were getting offensive rebounds. But it wasn’t the bigs’ fault,” said Rivers. “It was the guards dribbling down the middle of the lane. Our bigs have to help. They miss a shot and their bigs get an offensive rebound. They didn’t control the dribble at all. Before the game we told them the key to the game was rebounding, dribble penetration. We stop those two things, we’ll be in good shape. But we didn’t do either one.”

There are few second chances in the NBA playoffs, and the Celtics didn’t give themselves any. They were outscored 16-0 on second chance points, which correlated into a 48-30 deficit in the paint.

While Rivers believes it was the play of the Lakers guards that hurt the Celtics on second chance points more than their effort, his players are not letting themselves off easy.

“Our intensity [was missing],” said Kendrick Perkins. “Our energy level on both ends has been high throughout the playoffs. I think we were missing just our intensity. Our energy wasn’t there. We hung our heads a lot, we didn’t attack, we fouled every time down tonight. So I just think we’ve got to, first thing, stick together and bounce back in Game 2. We’ve got to go back, watch film, and come back down to earth and do what we do that got us here. We’ve got to get back to our roots, come back down to earth, and get back to doing the little things.”

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Finals have a different feeling 06.03.10 at 8:58 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES -  It has only been two years since the Celtics suited up for Game 1 of the 2008 NBA finals. The majority of the faces are the same, but what about the feeling?

“I wasn’t really nervous Game 1 of the Finals. I’m not really nervous right now,“ said Rajon Rondo. “It’s kind of hard to tell right now until the lights actually go on and there’s two minutes left ticking down. Right now it’s no big deal, it’s the same thing.”

The emotions are different this time around. In 2008, the Celtics were suddenly thrust from the lottery to the finals after acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. This season, they know what it takes to win it all and are trying to recreate the success they achieved two years earlier.

“I think we’re more poised than we were last time. I think that’s the biggest difference. I don’t think the stage is as big a deal as the game plan. We’re more focused on the game plan than the finals,” said Brian Scalabrine.

“It’s the second time around, we’ve been there. We’ve done it before and there’s nothing really that surprises you. We know it’s going to be crowded out there, we know media day is going to be crazy, we didn’t know any of that. The intensity of this team in ’08 was different. It was a more high-strung team, we’re much more laidback. That’s not a bad thing. We can compartmentalize better than we did in ’08.”

Doc Rivers is prepared either way.

“In some ways we have the same starters, but the bench is completely different,” he said. “For some of the guys, this is their first time around. So you have to kind of watch their emotions. And even some of the guys who were on the bench last year, the last time when they were not in the rotation as much. Then in a lot of ways, it’s their first time. … We’ve got a veteran group, so we know what we’re in store for.”

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Doc says C’s ‘are just going to be us’ 05.31.10 at 6:37 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Talk about walking a fine line.

Doc Rivers knows his team – and Kendrick Perkins in particular – needs to do just that to come away with its 18th NBA title when they match up against the Lakers in the next two weeks.

Rivers was told by more than one member of the recently-excused Phoenix Suns that if you plan on carrying through with the directive of Celtics fans everywhere, you better bring your hard hats and be prepared to rebound against the defending NBA champs.

That, of course, means being physical and not backing down. That also means that Kendrick Perkins needs to play with perfectly-controlled fury or risk his seventh technical foul, bringing with it an automatic one-game suspension.

“Our talks [with Perkins] haven’t worked yet, so maybe I should have another one,” Rivers said. “I’m concerned by it, honestly. What I’m concerned by with this is that it’s going to be a physical series. There’s going be guys that get tangled up under the basket, and there are going to be officials who are going to want to clean the game up. Perk may be in that. And the double technical — that’s why I’ve been on the double technical thing for a month now. This double technical thing should not be part of the seven techs, it really shouldn’t be. But it is and it’s a factor. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a factor in this series.”

Perkins, Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett, Shelden Williams and Rasheed Wallace – if healthy – will be called upon to contain Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Didier Ilunga-Mbenga.

“We’re just going to be us,” Rivers said following Monday’s practice. “I don’t know if that’s with any particular person. We’re going to be us and if that’s physical, that’s what we’re going to be.”

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Pierce: Doc is one ‘cool customer’ at 5:24 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Two of the most-respected coaches in the NBA also happen to have the most rings.

And Celtics captain Paul Pierce would love to give Doc Rivers the chance to join Lakers coach Phil Jackson and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich as active coaches with multiple rings.

But whether the Celtics win another title or not in the next month, Paul Pierce believes he is playing for one of the best coaches of his generation. Pierce said Monday following practice that Rivers deserves credit for keeping the team focused on the task at hand and never showing panic through the course of a long season filled with many ups and downs.

“He’s definitely taken my career to the next level,” Pierce said. “You have to put him up there with the top-five coaches with Phil, Gregg Popovich.”

It wasn’t always that way as Pierce admitted earlier this season when he said his relationship with the Celtics and Rivers was sometimes like when a couple goes through growing pains early in their relationship.

Sometimes you come close to “breaking up” Pierce said but in the end, you work things out.

Such was the case, even this season, when the team went 27-27 to finish the season, losing at home to teams like Washington, New Jersey and Memphis. When the team was battling to find itself in January and February, Pierce said it was Rivers who kept things loose and easy.

“I think it’s everything to this ballclub,” Pierce said. “You can see at times when you play for coaches when things aren’t going right it just seems like the practices get harder and the yelling becomes louder and Doc is a cool customer.

“He didn’t panic, he didn’t get louder. He just stuck with the game plan. A lot of times, when you go through a stretch we went through like five games out of six, seven-out-of-10, you can tell from a coach’s body language that things are going downhill. You never really saw that with Doc. He came in and said, ‘Alight, we’re going to get back to work the next day.’ He always stayed positive and encouraged us and I think that was big for us throughout the year.”

Jackson has an NBA-record 10 titles as head coach while Gregg Popovich is second among active coaches with four. The Celtics are making their second trip to the NBA Finals in three years with Rivers as the coach and he is trying to join Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and K.C. Jones as Celtics coaches with two titles in three seasons.

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Rivers on D&C: ‘You feel a responsibility’ to beat LA at 11:02 am ET
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Doc Rivers celebrates the Celtics' Eastern Conference championship Friday. (AP)

Doc Rivers celebrates the Celtics' Eastern Conference championship Friday. (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the NBA finals against the Lakers. Rivers said his players do not view themselves as underdogs. “We don’t think that way,” he said. “We don’t care what others think. We believed going into the playoff rounds that we could get here and win it. We thought we needed to be healthy, and we did get healthy. I don’t know how healthy we are now, but we’re getting closer again. That was key for us. We just believe that the 23-5 team was the real team, at the beginning of the season. The 27-27 the rest of the way was due to different circumstances that had nothing to do with basketball. And we believe that as a group.”

Rivers talked about the respect he has for the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. “It means a lot,” he said. “I know the history. I love the history of the game. To be part of it is huge for me, personally. But you feel a responsibility. You don’t want them to beat you. And that’s just the bottom line. Let’s say you were playing Phoenix. You still would want to win the world championship, obviously. But you’re playing the Lakers, and it’s like you’re thinking more about you want to beat them and less about wanting to win the title. And that’s probably good.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

What is your schedule?

The schedule is we’re practicing at 11 o’clock. And then right after practice we’re jumping on a plane and flying out a day early — just with the time change and stuff. Then we’ll practice at UCLA tomorrow. Then we’ll have that league-mandated practice on Wednesday that I love so much.

Was that Nate Robinson’s 15 minutes of fame, or are we going to see more of Nate Robinson?

I think you’ll see more of him. It’s funny what you learn in losses. Nate Robinson didn’t play because we needed him in Game 6. Nate Robinson played because he played so well in Game 5, the game that Orlando beat us. It wasn’t the offensive end, it was the defensive end. He was doing all the things that we needed him to do, that we worked with him on. You could see that he had bought in. I remember turning to our bench early on and saying, “Hey, Nate’s going to help us.” I didn’t know he was going to do that, obviously, offensively or anything like that. If he can continue to do that, then yeah, he has a chance to help us. Read the rest of this entry »

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