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Doc Rivers on D&C 12.09.09 at 11:02 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly call-in. The guys asked Doc about minutes, rebounding and Kevin Garnett’s hot streak. They also gave the coach the chance to sound off on his favorite ex-ref, Tim Donaghy.

Things are going well, do you worry about pushing them too hard in December and the possibility that they will be spent in April and May?

No, I don’t worry about that. I hear all that talk and I really think it’s silly sometimes. Let’s say you win 25 games in a row and someone says that’s bad for you, I’ve never got that. Obviously if you play your guys 40 minutes a night or something like that, then that’s different. But if you’re playing your guys their normal minutes and they’re winning games, isn’t that what they’re supposed to do. You want to improve. Any team that doesn’t improve during the year is not going to do much in the playoffs. That’s what the regular season is for.

Is it safe to say that with a veteran team, that margin to improve is less than a young team?

Our improvement is not going to come by individual basketball skill. Kevin, Paul [Pierce], Ray [Allen], Rasheed [Wallace] they’re not going to be different players by the end of the year, so our improvement is all about the team part of it.
All about the continuity, all about reading each other on offense and defense and that’s what we’re doing.

I love our pace right now with the practices and the game minutes. If we can continue on this pace that would be great. With injuries that come up during the regular season you know that’s not going to be possible. But if we could stay on this pace, we practice at the right time, we’re pacing ourselves in games as far as minutes, but you’ve been around long enough to know with injuries and things like that, that’s when you are pressed.

Does the division race mean anything?

I’m going to answer your question by saying I don’t know how many we’ve won. There’s your answer now that I think about it.

You may have locked it up last night.

For us it’s more about home court. If you can get home court that’s huge and that’s what we want to get. That’s what we’re looking at. You look at playoff positioning and home court advantage far more than you look at division. Read the rest of this entry »

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Take that Tim Donaghy 12.08.09 at 7:56 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers fired back at disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy prior to his team’s game with Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

Rivers was asked for his reaction to Donaghy’s claims on Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday that Rivers tried to intimidate younger NBA officials.

“I’ve been trying to get on younger players for a long time to persuade them to do things as well so I don’t know,” Rivers joked at first, before adding, “I’m so sick of that guy right now, I really am, for our league. I love our league and I hate what’s going on, that we’re giving a guy like that credibility.”

Donaghy ejected Rivers from a game back in April 2005. Rivers then lodged a complaint with the league, accusing Donaghy with personal bias against the Celtics coach.

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Doc Rivers on D&C, 11/19 11.19.09 at 10:34 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly chat, and the hosts asked him about his coaching style, how he deals with different players and whether he would go for the win or the tie if he was down by two points. (Click here for complete audio interview.)

Coaches have been in the news lately. As a jumping-off point, do you consider yourself a player’s coach?

Rivers: I’ve heard that for years — what’s a player’s coach? I don’t know if there is such a thing, honestly. There’s coaches who have great relationships with their players, there are those who don’t, but I don’t think that’s what makes them a player’s coach or not. I think the respect factor is huge. If you have respect in the locker room with your players and vice versa then I guess that makes you a player’s coach.

Do you ever toss a table, break a chalkboard or scream bloody murder?

I scream bloody murder. I’ve never been a chalkboard puncher, but I’ve done things where I’ve lost my temper. But I don’t think those are things you can do very often because eventually it will not work. But you have to be demanding. You have to demand a standard, which is what we call it in our locker room. We set a standard. I demand that standard. That’s the part you have to get your players to buy into.

What are the things you live by to set that standard?

The number one thing with me is you have to remain agenda free. It has to be about team and it has to be about winning. If you have those two things and they believe that and it has to be true then they will follow you. It’s not about a star. It’s not about anything else but winning, and you tell them that up front. That doesn’t mean the decisions you make are always right. When you make a decision and it’s always about what’s good for the team then it’s very difficult for someone to question you on that.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t do something different and that may be true. I tell my players all the time, I’m not going to do right all the time, but I know if you do right all the time it will still work. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Celtics finish? 11.18.09 at 8:45 pm ET
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In their two losses to Atlanta and Indiana, the Celtics have been jumping out to quick leads but unable to put away teams in the fourth quarter.

That’s a trait they perfected in 2008. And in three blowout wins against Utah, Charlotte and Philadelphia, it wasn’t even an issue as they built leads of over 20 points in each case, turning the final 12 minutes in each case into prime time for the bench.

But against Atlanta, they were outscored 25-16 in the fourth and lost 97-86. In Indianapolis the next night, they were outscored, 61-43, by the younger, fresher Pacers, losing 113-104. The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter in each of their three losses entering Wednesday.

“I’m concerned about bad finishes than slow starts, honestly,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s contest. “I think all three of the games, we’ve had a lead in the fourth quarter. I said it [Tuesday], I don’t think we’re a 48-minute team yet.”

On Wednesday, the Celtics took a 49-48 lead to the locker room, somewhat deflated by the waving off of Kevin Garnett’s 3/4-court heave that hit nothing but net.

But the real question remains – Can the Celtics finish?

Stay tuned now and for the rest of the season.

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Donny Basketball at 1:49 pm ET
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Don Nelson has been pleading with his players early this season.

Don Nelson has been pleading with his players early this season.

Doc Rivers has known Don Nelson a long time. When he arrived on the scene in the NBA, Rivers was a point guard on the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta would have knock down, drag out bouts with Nellie’s Milwaukee Bucks when the Bucks were winning Central Division titles year after year.

This year though, the Warriors are tops in the league in scoring through 10 games, at 111.6 points. Note to Celtics, the Suns and Hawks are second and third and both beat Boston at the Garden.

The flip side of that is they’re allowing 113.7 points a contest, the highest in the league.

“He didn’t start out that way,” Rivers said. “Don’s been coaching a long time. He’s basically taken what he has and uses it and turns it into that.

“In Milwaukee, they might have been the slowest basketball team on Earth to play. They walked the ball up the floor, played slow and used the clock and you were in an 80-point game with them.”

Nelson broke into coaching at the age of 36 in 1976 with the Milwaukee Bucks. He is now 69 and has more wins (1312) than any active coach and is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc on Belichick call: ‘You don’t get do-overs’ 11.17.09 at 3:09 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  Doc Rivers weighed in on ‘The Call’ following Celtics practice on Tuesday.

Asked if he had any reaction to uproar over Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28, Rivers, an avid NFL fan, replied, “You read your team, and if you like your team, you take risks. That’s what you do.

“But you don’t get do-overs in coaching and that’s the difference. Everything else, you get to sit around and talk about it after the fact. In coaching, you make your decision and you don’t apologize for it.”

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Doc: ‘I think No. 6 should be retired’ 11.13.09 at 7:57 pm ET
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Going into Friday’s game against Atlanta, Doc Rivers had lots on his mind. Namely, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Al Horford and the very young and talented Hawks.

One thing NOT on his mind is whether the No. 23 should be retired throughout the NBA, as suggested by superstar LeBron James.

“I don’t know if there’s a right answer on that,” Rivers said. “Something I’ve been asked far more than I’d like to be asked, going into a game. He said he was going to wear No. 6. That number should be retired. I don’t know what the right answer to that question is. I think it’s good either way.”

James offered to give up his No. 23 and wear his Olympic No. 6 instead. Then, Rivers had some fun with reporters pregame Friday.

“You know who No. 6 is, right?” Rivers said, referring to Bill Russell.

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