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Doc on Nate: ‘You take your chance’ 02.23.10 at 8:16 pm ET
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Doc Rivers wasn’t pulling any punches or setting expectations too high before Nate Robinson’s debut in a Celtics uniform.

“You absolutely look and watch on a guy’s past history,” Rivers said of Robinson’s troublesome reputation with the Knicks. “It’s a great indicator of what’s going to be next. And yeah, we look at all that. I also look at his ability and what he can do on the floor. You try to make a decision on what overrides what and then you take your chance. We’ve taken chances on guys and some have paid off and some haven’t but I’m willing to do that. I’ve always been willing to do that.

“I want him to be him on the court and that’s one of the things I said. We didn’t grab you, we didn’t want you for the things you haven’t done. We grabbed you for all the things you do on the court. As far as the other stuff, we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”

The coach said things were so rushed at the practice facility in Waltham on Monday – the only day the coaching staff has had to work with him – they had to have coaches come in to run the offense sets with no defense.

“One practice was [Monday] with no players,” Rivers said of Monday’s workout with Robinson running the point. “We ran our offense with Thibs [defensive coach Tom Thibodeau] at the two and Armond [Hill] at the three and it looked crazy. It looked awful, and it should have.”

Rivers said it would be way too much to expect Robinson to pick everything up on the fly.

“Well, I don’t know what he can grasp,” Rivers said. “That’s something we’ll find out as the year goes on. We gave him way too much stuff [Monday] and we knew that doing it and then afterward, [Tuesday] we’re just going to roll the ball out and just play. I think with a point guard, it’s very difficult to integrate a point guard in your system like this on the fly like this so we’ll do one set at a time for him.

“When he comes on the floor, basically we’ll be a one-set team and it will involve him, trying to create. It’s no secret to play basketball. We’ll figure it out.”

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Video: Doc Rivers addresses the press at practice 02.09.10 at 2:00 pm ET
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Doc: C’s ‘lean back too far on what they’ve done’ 02.08.10 at 5:31 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Like everyone else, Doc Rivers has had his fill of his players saying they’re better than what they’ve been showing on the court of late.

“I think when you have a veteran team, there are several pitfalls,” Rivers said following practice Monday. “One, you’re a veteran team. Two, we’ll turn it on. I don’t buy into that, never have. Three, leaning back on your past success. Your past success is no guarantee to future success. I think this team leans back too far on what they’ve done and we have to get to work on what we’re going to do and I think that’s what we have to do a better job of.”

[Click here to hear Doc talk about his team.]

In the words of a famous football coach who coached the Patriots in the 1990s, ‘You are what your record says you are.’  For the Celtics, a 32-17 mark is good for third in the East behind Cleveland and Orlando.

He paraphrased Bill Parcells for his players on Monday before, during and after a practice.

“Enough with the talk,” Rivers said. “That’s basically it. I had a Conga line in my office today. That’s great, though. Guys want to do the right thing. I don’t think we have bad guys on our team, I know we don’t. But we have to do [right things]. All we keep talking, ‘You’re right and we’re going to do it,’ but we’re not doing it. That’s what we have to do.”

Monday was a good first step in a process that figures more like a grind as the team faces road games in the next two weeks against the Hornets, Lakers, Trail Blazers and Nuggets.

“They responded with a great practice so that’s good,” Rivers said. “But we have to, we have to get back to work, that workman’s mentality. We have to get back to wanting to be the best defensive team in the NBA. We have to get back to executing better. We can’t just rely on guys coming back off injury. That has thrown us off a little bit because of lack of practice time and all that, but I think that’s becoming an excuse around here. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc: ‘We played like crap’ 02.07.10 at 6:52 pm ET
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Doc Rivers says in his postgame address that his team is not as good as it might think it is. The Celtics were outscored 36-11 in the third quarter and blew an 11-point halftime lead in a 96-89 loss to the Magic, dropping them to third in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics are have lost all seven home games this year against opponents with at least 30 wins.

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Rivers on D&C: ‘I’ll take us against anybody’ 02.04.10 at 10:38 am ET
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Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers joined the guys on Dennis & Callahan to talk about Rajon Rondo’s comments, whether he’ll ask Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to sit out the All-Star Game and which team he likes in the Super Bowl.

Compared to Christmas Day when you beat Orlando and now when you’re struggling, give us an overview of where you are?

We didn’t play well in January. We had some pretty special circumstances, and so I don’t take my eye off of that. You lose Paul Pierce going out west and you lose Kevin Garnett out west, it’s tough to win. So I keep that in perspective. I also understand that we’ve lost two games not playing great basketball to two of the best teams in the league by one final shot. So, the way I look at it, I like our team a lot. And, if we can get healthy, which I think we will at some point, I’ll take us against anybody.

Can you project or assume that this team will get healthy?

It is. It’s not like our injuries, minus Kevin … our injuries could happen to anybody playing basketball. [Nineteen-year-old] Brandon Jennings, if someone falls on his ankle the way someone fell on Paul Pierce’s ankle, he’s going to be injured. That’s just part of the game. That has nothing to do with Paul Pierce’s age. That has to do with Paul Pierce getting in the wrong spot at the wrong time. You know, it happens. But I do think we will get healthy and I think we’ll be OK.

What do you make of Rajon Rondo’s assertion that there are too many agendas creeping in?

I think Rondo was repeating, and I said it [Wednesday], basically what I told the team about three weeks ago. It was almost exactly my speech to the team. The agendas that we were talking about was more focus agendas. We are heading into the All-Star break, guys are focused on making the All-Star team. Guys are focused on going on the break, it’s just too much stuff. Not enough thought about basketball.

Did it hurt you on the floor?

I think it bothers every team. I was making a statement that this is the dog days. It happens to every team. You look at all the team during that stretch, you struggle a little bit. When we were going through that, with the injuries that were happening at the same time, my point was we need better focus to get through this. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc: At least Rondo’s been listening 02.03.10 at 8:42 pm ET
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Doc Rivers initially thought Rajon Rondo’s comments to Boston Herald reporter Steve Bulpett were blown out of proportion.

But upon further review, the Celtics coach said he would have written what Bulpett wrote. Moreover, he was happy with the fact that Rondo has apparently been listening to the coach’s pleas for better team chemistry and singleness of purpose on and off the court.

Here’s what Rivers had to say about Rondo’s thoughts on team chemistry before Wednesday’s game with Miami.

“I don’t mind that,” Rivers said. “There’s better ways of doing that but I don’t mind that. Even the comments he made, I didn’t mind much at all because, for one, it says at least he’s been listening. And that’s always a good thing.”

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Rivers on D&C: Can’t change trash-talking 01.27.10 at 10:15 am ET
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Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about trash-talking, whether the Celtics will make a trade, the craziest players and teams Rivers played on, and the Celtics’ upcoming three games with Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers.

Did you see Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace in the footage at Ellis Memorial in Roxbury yesterday? It was very heartwarming. The reason we bring this up is it flies in the face of your team’s reputation as the biggest trash-talkers in the NBA.

Well, they can do that and still do that, I guess. We have a bunch of great guys and we have a bunch of insane guys when the game starts. I’ve always said there’s a lot of guys who you would love to meet on the court and who you would not like to meet off the court. That’s probably two of them.

[Sports Illustrated] made a list of the top trash-talkers and you have three of them. Are you comfortable with that?

It’s who we are and I’m not going to try to change it. It’s part of their DNA. I’m assuming the three are Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett and you can go with either Paul or [Kendrick Perkins].

It was Paul. It was a player’s poll and Kevin won going away.

The thing with Kevin is, Kevin talks the whole game — to himself, to us, to his teammates and to the other team. So I don’t know who he’s talking to, and I don’t think the other team does, as well. Again, it’s funny. My first year with Kevin I realized that’s who he was. We had one game and before the game I said to the guys, “Look. We have to play the game. Respect the game. No talking.” At halftime we were awful and I went in and said, “Kevin, everybody. Go back to who you were. Play basketball.” That’s who a couple of my guys are. Do I wish they didn’t do it? Yeah. But that’s who they are. I’m not going to try and change it.

Do the other players on the other teams take offense?

I think sometimes they do and I don’t really think Kevin is a trash-talker, of the three. Kevin is a talker. He’ll do that, “Get that stuff out of here,” and I don’t even consider that trash talk anymore. He yells more at the atmosphere. “We’re gonna win. We’re playing hard.” Stuff like that. It’s not really directed at anyone. But, yes, some guys do. It’s the teams that aren’t very good and can’t handle it. The great teams don’t pay any attention to it because they do it themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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