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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.

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett,
Donny Basketball at 1:49 pm ET
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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 »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Don Nelson, Warriors
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.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Patriots
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.

Read More: Bill Russell, Celtics, Doc Rivers,
Doc on Scott firing: ‘That’s our league’ 11.12.09 at 3:23 pm ET
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WALTHAM  —  When he heard the news on Thursday that Byron Scott had been fired after a 3-6 start in New Orleans, Doc Rivers couldn’t help but think he had seen this script before.

It was November 2003 and the Orlando Magic decided to make a coaching change after a 1-10 start. It was Doc Rivers who was shown the door.

“That’s too bad,” Rivers said following Thursday’s practice. “It’s amazing that you can make a decision that quickly on a guy that was Coach of the Year a year-and-a-half ago. So, that’s our league.

“He matched me, basically. I was [11], so I lasted [two] longer, unfortunately. It just gave me [two] more losses,” Rivers added with a hearty laugh.

To be completely accurate, this isn’t even the first time this has happened to Scott.

In Dec. 2003, with his team languishing near .500 at 22-20, the Nets replaced him with assistant Lawrence Frank, who now is the second-longest tenured head coach in the East.

What makes it even more similar is the fact that both Scott and Rivers earned coach of the year honors only to be fired later on.

Rivers was coach of the year in 2000 with Orlando, leading a team that was picked dead last in the Eastern Conference to a near playoff berth. Scott earned his award in 2008, ironically the same season Rivers led his team to 66 wins and the NBA title.

That season, Scott led the Hornets to 56 wins and a berth in the Western Conference semis before bowing out to the Spurs.

Read More: Byron Scott, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Hornets
Doc Rivers on D+C at 10:21 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about Wednesday night’s win over Utah, the importance of practice and what he looks for in the box score.

At what point in a game like Wednesday night do you and the coaching staff start smoking the Red Auerbach cigar?

Rivers: A lot of times the young guys get on the floor and you’re trying to help them improve. There may be a point in a season where you need a Lester Hudson on the floor. So you never stop [coaching]

What about when Kevin Garnett goes up on two defenders on an alley-oop, in a blowout, do you hold your breath like everyone else? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about health?

No I don’t. I can’t worry about that. They’re healthy. Everyone’s healthy. Kevin’s 100 percent healthy and his game’s just going to keep getting better. So you don’t worry about that. You just worry about minutes and the minutes have been great this year. That’s the only thing you actually have any [control over], along with the gameplan.

What is it that you miss by not practicing. Is it physical? Is it mental?

I think you have slippage. When you play a lot of games and you don’t have a lot of time to adjust to some of the things that you’re slipping in, it just goes further. The discipline in that is execution offensively and defensively.

We did it at both ends last night, and that’s clearly a couple of things. Number one, they’re more rested and that’s both physically and mentally. But the most important thing is their execution. When you play eight games in 12 days you don’t have time to work on things and you lose a lot. You could see it in that game last night. Early on, one of my assistants, Kevin Eastman said, ‘It’s amazing what a couple of practices can do.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dennis & Callahan, Doc Rivers,
Doc: ‘I understand and appreciate the day’ 11.11.09 at 7:01 pm ET
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Every Veterans Day has special meaning to Glenn ‘Doc’ Rivers.

His late father, Grady Alexander Rivers, was in the Army and he carries that memory with him now.

“I think a lot of kids look at this day as a day off,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s game. “My dad was a veteran, so I do understand the day and I appreciate the day.”

So with that inspiration in mind, he’ll take the chance to remind his team before the game with the Jazz about why today is important.

“Today, and I do it all the time, but I’ll share some veterans’ stories,” Rivers said. “I’m going to ask the guys if they even know what day it is because a lot of people don’t. If it’s a certain day, like Martin Luther King Day, or any of these days I think it’s a good for us to bring it up. It’s not just a basketball game. I always think it’s important to bring it up.”

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, Veterans Day
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