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Doc on the Spurs: ‘What we want to be’ 03.28.10 at 9:36 pm ET
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Doc Rivers remember playing for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. But not how you might think.

Rivers was the point guard for the Spurs between 1994-96 when Popovich was the general manager.

Then Rivers retired the season before the Popovich fired Bob Hill for a 3-16 start and took over as head coach.

Four NBA titles later, the man with the second-longest head coaching tenure in the NBA is the envy of the league – including Doc Rivers.

“Well, he’s earned it,” Rivers said of Popovich’s tenure. “Pop’s been phenomenal. He’s not only been a coach but he a built a whole program. San Antonio has always been very good. They just could never get over the hump. When I played there, we made it to the Western Finals against Houston and they had been there before.

“Pop came in and not only took them back there, but took them over that and he did in the right way with character players. The organization is first class and no one would have thought 10 years ago that San Antonio would be the organization that most of the league, and not just in basketball, would model their teams after and they do.”

So it’s no surprise that after titles in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007, the Spurs have the kind of resume that others in the league want to copy – even the mightiest of all NBA dynasties with 17 banners already hanging in the rafters.

“Well, we would like to be,” Rivers said of the desire to copy the Spurs’ way. “And that’s what we want to be because they’ve been consistent with it and have done a great job with it. Everyone has their own way but there are a lot of things that I do as a coach and there are a lot of things we do as an organization that we got from them.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, NBA
Doc on D&C: ‘We’re close’ 03.25.10 at 8:51 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the state of the Celtics. “We’re closer,” Rivers said. “I don’t think anybody can say they’re there right now as a team.”

Rivers said the Celtics’ recent improved play can directly be attributed to the team’s improved health. “We were 23-5 [to start the season], we were completely healthy,” he said. “I felt this throughout that whole streak. It’s amazing how conveniently everybody forgot about that. … So many different guys had to play so many different roles. … That took a toll on us.”

Rivers said he’s focused on continuing to get the team in rhythm the rest of the regular season, but, “I still want to get them rest as well.”

Rivers was asked about the NCAA tournament and which underdog he thinks has the best chance of advancing. “I think Cornell’s the best [underdog] that’s still available,” Rivers said. “Unfortunately, they have to play the best team [Kentucky]. … If that game is close, I think Cornell wins that game.”

Rivers said he has been getting grief from Nate Robinson since Robinson’s alma mater, Washington, knocked off Rivers’ school, Marquette, in the tournament’s opening round. “I’m still getting [teased],” Rivers said. “Every time he walks by me, he sings the Washington fight song.”

To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

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Doc Rivers press conference, 3/24 03.24.10 at 11:31 pm ET
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BOSTON — Doc Rivers speaks to the media following the Celtics 113-99 win over the Denver Nuggets.

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Doc Rivers Press Conference, 3/17 03.17.10 at 10:24 pm ET
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Doc Rivers talks to the media following the Celtics win against the Knicks on St. Patricks Day.

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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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