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Passing of the torch? Doc passes 05.11.10 at 7:48 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — For the last few days all the talk around the Celtics has been on the passing of the torch from the Big Three to Rajon Rondo. Funny, but the Celtics don’t look at it that way.

“That’s for y’all, I’m just trying to get them to pass the ball to each other,” Doc Rivers said. “That torch stuff, I’m going to leave that alone. As long as they keep passing to each other, I’m good.”

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Doc Rivers press conference 05.07.10 at 11:10 pm ET
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Doc Rivers speaks to the media following the Celtics 124-95 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Jokes continue at Ainge’s expense 05.06.10 at 4:45 pm ET
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WALTHAM — The NBA fined Danny Ainge $25,000 for “creating an unauthorized distraction” during Game 2 on the Celtics-Cavs series. In other words, he threw a towel up in the air while J.J. Hickson was shooting free throws.

The Celtics have been amused by this episode and Doc Rivers got in a few more one-liners at his boss’ expense Thursday.

“I was surprised, actually, at the fine,” Rivers said. “I know a lot of people were not. I was because he’s just an employee. What’s the difference between that and the mascots do it all the time. I was just wondering if Danny had worn Lucky’s outfit he would have gotten away with it.”

“I laughed because I know Danny,” Rivers continued. “Danny is as competitive of a person as I’ve ever met in my life. They were making a run, you could see them getting back into the game, and he couldn’t do anything about it. It was funny to me. The $25,000? That’s not so funny. Joke’s over now.”

And, hopefully, so is this story.

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Rivers on D&C: Garnett, Perk OK for Friday at 9:48 am ET
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Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Rivers provided an update on the status of injured big men Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins. Rivers said Garnett isn’t likely to practice Thursday so he can rest his foot and ankle, but he shouldn’t miss any game action. “I do think he’ll play on Friday, and I think he’ll be OK,” Rivers said. “Perk will be fine. Kevin’s the only concern.”

Rivers was asked about Garnett’s shower room pep talk that inspired Rasheed Wallace to turn in his best performance of the playoffs in Monday’s Game 2 rout of the Cavaliers. Said Rivers: ”We were joking yesterday, maybe it was the ‘Hot Tub Time Machine.’ Whatever works, works. Rasheed was huge for us. We don’t win that game without his performance.”

Paul Pierce has been kept in check through the first two games, and Rivers said the Celtics need him to break out. “We have to get Paul a little more offensively involved and try to get him in spots,” Rivers said, crediting LeBron James’ defense as a key factor. “Paul being in foul trouble in both games has not helped his rhythm, either.”

Rivers also weighed in on the Danny Ainge towel-throwing controversy from Game 2. “I think every fan should have a towel [Friday], and Danny can’t have one,” he joked. “We got a lot of laughs out of that. Danny is so competitive, and he got carried away, which he’ll fully admit. I’m surprised at how much play it got [in the media].”

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Clarifying the calls for clarification 05.03.10 at 7:49 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Cavs coach Mike Brown raised a few eyebrows when he suggested that the foul Shaquille O’Neal put on Rajon Rondo late in the game was actually not a foul, and that he asked for clarification from the league. It turns out that Brown was actually referring to a different Shaq foul on Rondo from the second quarter.

The act of asking the league to clarify calls in a specific game is a time-honored ritual for coaches during playoff series.Doc Rivers said he asked the league about four different calls. “I’m scared to tell you which ones because I may get fined for it,” Rivers said before Game 2. “They said I was right.”

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LeBron’s elbow just funny business to C’s 04.29.10 at 10:38 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Gamesmanship is as common this time of year in the NBA as game planning.

With that being said, no one will know for sure just how big a role the banged up right elbow of LeBron James will play in the Celtics-Cavs series.

But the Celtics have their own sense of the seriousness of the injury to King James.

“He’s fine,” coach Doc Rivers said with a big smile. “I tell you what, if he goes three or four games and shoots left-handed only, then I’ll believe that it’s hurting. We’re going to be ready for the LeBron we’ve seen all through the playoffs.”

Of course, James DID shoot a free throw with his left hand in the Game 5 clincher against Chicago on Tuesday night with 7.2 seconds remaining the Cavaliers up, 96-92.

Added Ray Allen, “I don’t even pay attention to it. If there’s something wrong with his elbow or any other part of his body, then he won’t play, and we all know that.”

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The Magic of LeBron at 9:21 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Doc Rivers has seen that lightning-quick, cross-court pass that paralyzes a defense before leaving them powerless to prevent an easy, uncontested basket.

Magic Johnson did it seemingly at will in the 1980s and Rivers had an up close and personal view for it all.

It is precisely for this reason the Celtics coach is worried about LeBron James. Yes, No. 23 can take it to the rim. Yes, James can rebound and block shots. But what James can do to get others involved is the hardest aspect to prepare for in this series against the Cavaliers.

“He’s a bullet passer,” Rivers said on Thursday, two days before Game 1. “He’s the only guy I know of like Magic. The ‘steam’ bullet passes. He throws cross-court passes that are 100 miles an hour and it’s tough to react to.

“We showed the guys that on film and if you’re not down in your stance and you’re standing straight up on the weakside and he makes that pass, there’s no way you’re going to get out to that shooter.”

Rivers tried his best to get his team ready but admitted it’s next to impossible.

“We worked on that [Thursday] and there’s nobody on our team that can throw that pass so the work didn’t look as good. We kept getting out to the shooter and I said, ‘Yeah, we’re throwing softballs.’

“He’s a great passer. In some ways, I think he wants to pass sometimes.”

James is also the leading triple-double threat in the league. But Rivers said, like with Dwyane Wade, the Celtics can live with the points but not the rebounds and assists.

“Well, the 10 [points] and the 10 [rebounds] we can’t have,” Rivers said. “The 30 and the 40 [points] we don’t want and, if he has it, we want him to have it our way, not his way. That’s what upset us a little about Wade in a couple of the games. He got to 46 his way. The big game the last night [Game 5], he got it our way. We kept everyone else out of it so that was good.”

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