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Allen: ‘We’ve got a bunch of leaders’ 03.15.10 at 7:14 pm ET
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Following their loss to the Cavaliers on Sunday, the leadership of the Celtics came into question. As in, where is it coming from?

Ray Allen says the Celtics don’€™t come down to one or two individuals. They are not led by a single player, he notes. Never have been nor do they plan on becoming so.

‘€œThe same as it’€™s always been,’€ he said prior to the Celtics – Pistons game on Monday. ‘€œWe’€™ve got a bunch of leaders on this team.’€

Kendrick Perkins offered a remedy to help the Celtics on Sunday after LeBron James led the Cavs to victory.

‘€œI think maybe a different guy gotta try to step up and be a leader,’€œ reported the Boston Globe. ‘€œI think sometimes you try to feed off your All-Stars, but maybe somebody else gotta step up. I’€™m talking about leading by example. One spark or positive energy on the court and guys tend to feed off that. Maybe it’€™s gotta be me, Rondo, ‘€™Sheed, somebody.’€™’€™

A day later, Doc Rivers echoed the notion of players needing to step up. He believes his players have it in them, it is just a matter of putting it out there on the court. He pointed out Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels specifically as two players the Celtics need better production from.

“I don’t care how frustrating it gets for me,” Rivers said before Monday’s game. “I see it, and if you see it or not, I see it and I’m going to get it out of you. And that’s what I told them after the game [Sunday]. I don’t know how but I will get it out of you.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Ray Allen
Doc: I’m not giving up on the team at 6:39 pm ET
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Peppered with questions about his team’s effort in the final five minutes of Sunday’s double-digit loss in Cleveland, Doc Rivers said he is going to find a way to get better results from his team.

“I don’t care how frustrating it gets for me,” Rivers said before Monday’s game with Detroit. “I see it, and if you see it or not, I see it and I’m going to get it out of you. And that’s what I told them after the game [Sunday]. I don’t know how but I will get it out of you.”

The Celtics were tied with the Cavs at 68 on Sunday before the roof caved in.

“I never mentioned that we didn’t have effort,” Rivers said. “I looked at it, there’s four minutes left in the third quarter, it’s a tie score. So at least at that point, we still had effort. We didn’t sustain our play. We missed a lot of open shots. I don’t think it had a lot to do with effort [Sunday]. I thought the last five minutes did [have to do with effort], when we were down 16 and you could see us giving in.”

“I think it’s an easy thing now when we don’t win, it was effort.”

To Rivers, the story wasn’t the lack of fight the team appeared to show in the final five minutes but how they got there.

“I’m not as worried about that as I am why we got down 16,” the coach said. “I was more concerned with that. They came with a great spirit and wanted to win the game. They had a chance to win the game. Then when it slipped away in their minds, they were disappointed. To me, that’s a human reaction. I can live with that.”

Rivers said the swagger against teams will come back to the Celtics only by results on the court.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to earn for people be afraid of you.’ The first half of the year we did earn that,” Rivers said. “Then I think everybody conveniently forgets the second-half of the year. When we were [23-5], we were completely healthy. We had injuries, we struggled and now we’re trying to get it back.

“It didn’t just go away because the healthy group stop playing, it went away for a good reason. What we’ve failed to do is put it back together yet, and that’s what we’re working on.”

Ultimately – and appropriately with Boston trying to dry out from drenching rains – Rivers is taking a glass half-full approach.

“In some ways, it’s very enjoyable,” Rivers said of this year’s challenge. “I know that sounds crazy. It’s a group where you’ve had to get your hands dirty. Really, you’ve had to dive into this group, push buttons, get on different guys you’d never thought you’d have to. In some ways, that has been very difficult but in some ways, it has been a joyous challenge. This is a very challenging year. I’m excited by it, in a crazy way I am. If you get it right, it will be an unbelievable feeling at the end.”

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Celtics trying to get in shape 03.12.10 at 8:14 pm ET
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Doc Rivers admitted before Friday’s game that he may have given his team too much of a break this season from practice and is thinking of increasing the frequency and intensity of practice as the season winds down.

“I would say I have probably balanced on the wrong side in some ways,” Rivers said. “Obviously, the rest was important but I do think we have to practice more and get more conditioning in. This late in the year, you rarely hear that but I think we’re one of the teams that have to actually do it.”

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Doc on Pierce, KG: C’s need them at ‘their peak’ at 8:13 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is thinking of sitting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, having them miss games and practice more to help them find their rhythm and conditioning as the playoffs approach.

“If that means working more in practice and missing games, then that’s what we have to do,” Rivers said. “Let’s just be honest, if they’re not at their peak, it’s going to be very tough for us to do anything. We have to have them playing at their peak.”

Pierce has been recovering from an injured left foot, while Garnett has continued to deal with his injured right knee. Yet both players indicated a strong desire following Friday’s game to continue playing and not occasionally sit out games along the lines of what Rivers suggested.

‘€œI’€™m not really feeling that idea, but hey, this is the ‘Doc Rivers Show’ and we are just guests on it,” Garnett said. “So whatever he feels is best, you know Paul and I, I think I speak for both of us we don’€™t really feel that.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Doc Rivers Press Conference, 3/10 03.10.10 at 11:26 pm ET
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BOSTON — Watch Doc Rivers‘ press conference following the Celtics 111-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at TD Garden.

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Doc Rivers postgame, 3/3 03.03.10 at 11:23 pm ET
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Doc: ‘You’ve got to get your hands dirty’ 03.01.10 at 4:46 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Following a day off Sunday to reflect on a stunningly bad performance in a 104-96 loss to the hapless Nets, Doc Rivers played the part of coach/philosopher/team psychologist on Monday at Celtics practice as his team prepared for Detroit on the road Tuesday night.

‘€œI would like it not to but this is basketball and these are teams,” Rivers said of a possible wake-up call courtesy the six-win Nets. “It happens. We’€™re not used to it happening here but it happens. I’€™m not going to overreact to it. I can tell you that. But we just need work on it and we need to see it. Sometimes you can see it on film, sometimes you can see it on the floor and sometimes you’€™ve got to get your butt whipped a couple of times before you realize it’€™s a problem. I’€™m hoping all of those are going to help us.’€

The Celtics are 36-21, a half-game behind third-place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference. But a closer check of the standings reveals that only the Cavaliers appear clearly out of reach. The Celtics have just one more loss than second seed Orlando in the East and Denver in the West. Dallas, Boston, Utah and Atlanta all have 21 losses.

[Click here to listen to Doc Rivers break down what's been bothering him and his team.]

‘€œWe’€™re a game behind Denver, three or four behind the Lakers. As bad as we ‘€˜so called’€™ have played, we’€™re still in the thick of things, and that’€™s what you want at this time because we haven’€™t played well. In some ways, maybe we’€™re lucky in that way that other teams have faltered  in other places as well. But we have a lot of games to get it right and we’€™re going to have to do that.’€

But Rivers did isolate one area that needs to improve. The Celtics are just 16-11 at home. Of the 13 teams in the NBA with more losses on their home court, only No. 8 Portland in the West would be a playoff team.

‘€œI don’€™t know why. Blame the wives.” Rivers joked before offering perspective. “It is troubling. Of all the things to me, even with the rebounding and everything, is how we have performed at home. If you ask me, the one thing that has bothered me more than anything is that because I don’€™t care what your injuries are, whatever, you should win at home. On the road, it becomes difficult. At home, you should win those games. And we haven’€™t.’€

So, in short, the Celtics coach has the mother of all motivational jobs ahead of him, with a talented team that is clearly underachieving right now.

“It’s a great challenge,” he said. “Obviously, you would love it to be easy but if you want to do something special, I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy. You’ve got to get your hands dirty. You have to dive into it and see what you can come out with. It’s a good challenge. It really is.”

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