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Doc Rivers on Dennis & Callahan 05.19.09 at 10:01 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered a look back at the 2008-09 season, as well as a look ahead to his team’€™s needs going forward, during an interview with the Dennis & Callahan Show this morning. He admitted a sense of disappointment that his team did not have the opportunity to pursue another championship without a full complement of players.

‘€œThe only thing that bothers me about the way the postseason ended was, you look at Kevin (Garnett), you look at Leon (Powe) and you just say, ‘€˜Darn’€”we didn’€™t have a real chance to defend our title with our best stuff,’€™’€ said Rivers. ‘€œThat’€™s real tough for a coach and for a team.’€

Rivers addressed a number of topics during his interview, including ways in which the Celtics need to improve and his own coaching future. Among them:

WHETHER THE SURGERY ON KEVIN GARNETT’€™S KNEE MIGHT BE MORE FAR-REACHING THAN PREVIOUSLY SUGGESTED:

I don’€™t think there will be much more (than reported). I think it will be the strained tendon and the bone spur. What they started thinking at the end was that maybe the bone spur had something to do, maybe it started rubbing against the tendon and that’€™s what kept it inflamed. But they don’€™t know that. That’€™s just an assumption.

ON OTHER INJURIES THAT IMPACTED THE TEAM AND THAT MAY REQUIRE SURGERY

Ray Allen had a hamstring problem throughout the Orlando series that was not getting better. Paul had some bone spurs that may need to be removed as well. (Kendrick Perkins) may have to have a procedure on his shoulder’€¦ In Ray’€™s case, I thought his hamstring was bothering him a lot. That could have had an effect on him (during the Magic series).

ON THE TEAM’€™S NEED TO ADD DEPTH TO ITS BENCH THIS OFFSEASON

Just think this year if Kevin was healthy and Leon was healthy, that makes our bench 10 deep’€¦Those two guys being out really shortened our bench.

But we have to improve our team. There’€™s no doubt about that. We don’€™t have to make any changes, but definitely have to make some additions.

No. 1, the one spot no one talked about all year, was the small forward spot. We need a small forward who can defend, who can make shots and give Paul (Pierce) a blow. I thought Paul, all year, had to guard the best guys all game. Whenever we took him out, we went small. We put Ray Allen in at small forward, which is a tough matchup. You could see it in the Orlando series. You were almost scared to take Paul off the floor because when you did, Ray Allen was now guarding the Terkoglus or the Rashard Lewises of the world. They went straight to the post, just like every other team did.

ON THE IMPACT OF KEVIN GARNETT’€™S DEFENSIVE ABSENCE ON THE REST OF THE TEAM

We didn’€™t run out of gas in the playoffs. We ran out of gas trying to get to the playoffs in a lot of ways. Every game was different and harder once Kevin left. Our defense suffered. (Rivers noted that opponents averaged 88 points per game against the Celtics last postseason, and 102 points per game this year.) I don’€™t think much more needs to be said about our defense, and how important Kevin Garnett is.

HOW MANY 15- TO 18-FOOT JUMPERS SHOULD RONDO TAKE THIS OFFSEASON?

He can’€™t take enough, obviously. I thought the series changed when Orlando decided that they basically weren’€™t going to play Rondo anymore. It’€™s very difficult for him to be effective from that point on. Obviously, he did on the rebounding side of things for us, but as far as creating plays, that not only hurt Rondo, but that hurt Paul and Ray as well, because they were using his man to double-team.
That’€™s a shot he’€™s going to have to make. We knew that. We knew that two years ago. It made it easier for them to do that because Kevin wasn’€™t out on the floor. When you have three other shooters out on the floor, it’€™s not as easy.

DO YOU REASSESS YOUR OWN FUTURE AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?

I do it every year. I have every intention of coming back, but I would be lying to you if I said that every year, I didn’€™t sit back over the last couple, with the family. We sit back and we think, ‘€˜What do we need to do, and what do I need to do?’€™ I just try to gauge it on how my kids are doing and if they’€™re happy. I’€™m sure there will be a day or some time when I’€™ll say no, I’€™ve got to stay and do family things. But I have every intention of coming back.
I love coaching. I see myself coaching a long time. But I also see myself as a coach who will take a break to re-energize. I believe in that. I love, what’€™s the analogy? A teacher taking a sabbatical and coming back. I clearly will do that someday. In the next two or three years, I think that has to happen. I just think it’€™s good for a coach to do that. It makes him a better coach.

WHO IS MORE LIKELY TO RETURN: MARBURY OR DAVIS?

Baby, it will probably come down to what he can get on the open market. With Steph, it will probably come down to what we can get on the open market.

WILL TOM THIBODEAU BE BACK?

I hope he’€™s not back…(The 76ers job) will be a tough one to get. Tom’€™s not a good guy ‘€“ he’€™s a great guy. And he’€™s a terrific coach. So I’€™m really pulling for him.

WHO WILL WIN THE TITLE?

I don’€™t know. Honestly, I can tell you I really don’€™t care.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, ray allen kevin garnett,
Game 7 pregame: The coaches 05.17.09 at 7:55 pm ET
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It’s always dangerous to try and gauge the mood of teams and coaches pregame and then try to extrapolate some kind of meaning out of that bit of pop psychology. But with that disclaimer out of the way, if Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy’s address to the media before Sunday night’s Game 7 could be be summed up in a word it would be “edgy” while Celtics coach Doc Rivers was a bit more philosophical.

Van Gundy was asked, again, about starting J.J. Redick ahead of Courtney Lee and Van Gundy indicated, again, that there would be no change. “I’m sort of surprised that this has become an issue,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t really understand why that is. Ray (Allen’s) had a tough series. I don’t think anyone is asking Doc why he’s sticking with him.”

Asked about defending Allen, Van Gundy said, “We’ve done a pretty good job of not giving him a lot of open looks and then he’s missed some shots. When you play the great players–Paul Pierce, Ray Allen–that’s the best you can do.” And that was about it from Van Gundy who didn’t care to entertain a handful of big picture type of questions.

Rivers on the other hand was asked if a win would validate the Celtics title defense. “I think our defense has been noble all season,” Rivers said. “That’s for you guys to decide. That’s always for you guys.”

Rivers seemed almost wistful when asked about the difference between last year’s team and this year’s saying, “This has been different. We know who we would like to be, but it just hasn’t worked out that way all the time. We’re still trying to discover who we are.”

Read More: Doc Rivers, Game 7, Stan Van Gundy,
Much needed practice for Celtics 05.16.09 at 1:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM – The Boston Celtics have not had more than one day off since a two-day lapse in between Games 3 and 4 against the Chicago Bulls. So Doc Rivers was relieved when the Celtics got another 48-hour break before Game 7 against the Orlando Magic. He put the team to work on Saturday.

‘€œWhen you don’t practice you have slippage, and we’ve had a ton of slippage,’€ Rivers said after practice. ‘€œOur film today was all execution ‘€“ things that you should be doing but when you don’t practice and work on everything, you slip a little bit. I think in Game 5 and 6 we had done that.’€

Dissecting game film allowed the Celtics to see their mistakes, including 83 turnovers in the first six games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

‘€œExecution is always key, down to the littlest thing,’€ Rivers said. ‘€œWhen you mess up one play and give up a three and you lose by two, that play in the first quarter counts just as much as something in the fourth. And so you just have to try to execute every single time and have great focus.’€

One thing Rivers does not intend to adjust after Saturday’s practice is how they will stop Dwight Howard. The Celtics have had a solid plan since the first game and Rivers does not want to change it, just execute it more effectively.

‘€œNot a thing, really,’€ he said. ‘€œWe just have to hold our ground, dig a little more. A lot of those are offensive rebounds from dribble penetration. A lot of Howard’s baskets are not coming from just throwing the ball down to him in the post. It’s coming come guards and small forwards beating us off the dribble. Perk (Kendrick Perkins) does his job by going to help, and it frees up Howard’s ten offensive rebounds. Going into Game 1 we said the single most important thing for us was to stop dribble penetration. That has not changed at all.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Orlando Magic,
Final thoughts before Game 6 05.14.09 at 6:52 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Doc Rivers is hopeful the referee trio of Dan Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Mark Davis call Game 6 the way the game was called in the second half of Game 5 Tuesday in Boston. That is to say, let them play.

If not and if Kendrick Perkins gets in foul trouble, that could spell trouble for the Green.

“We can go small at one, two and three but if we have to go small at four and five, clearly that’s not been the recipe for success for us,” Rivers said an hour before Game 6 at Amway Arena. “We are small to start when you think about it. Perk is undersized compared to Dwight (Howard) and Baby (Davis) is 6-7, 6-6, and we bring in Scal and we get smaller. But that’s who we have and they know their roles and they’ve been great at it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Magic,
Close out special at 1:05 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Doc Rivers could live without suspense for once.

On their way to a 17th title, the Celtics head coach watched nervously on the sideline as his team was pressed to seven games against Atlanta and Cleveland before finally learning the art of closing out a seven-game series in Game 6 in Detroit. They repeated the feat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers.

Fast forward to the present, and the urgency to seal the deal in Game 6 tonight in Orlando is obvious. While courageous, gritty and determined, clearly these Celtics are weary and thin. They had that chance in Game 6 in Chicago before the epic triple-overtime loss spoiled their plans.

Now, a team that is relying on a remarkably thin bench has a chance to rest up for Cleveland. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Magic, NBA playoffs
‘Wild run’ continues for Celtics, Rivers 05.12.09 at 1:19 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Sunday night was just another ho-hum crazy, buzzer-beating, phenomenal finish for the Celtics and their head coach Doc Rivers, who has seen more than his fair share of playoff thrills in the last three weeks.

“It has been emotional,” said Rivers, who punched the air wildly after Glen Davis hit his game-winner at the end of Game 4 in Orlando. “It’s been a wild playoff run for us. We kind of anticipated it. I didn’t know it would be like this, I don’t think anyone did. Not having Kevin then losing Leon. We knew this would be tough. We knew every game would be a grind.”

Rivers said he suffered an ‘emotional hi-jacking’ at the end of Sunday’s game but he has freed his psyche long enough to prep for tonight’s all-important Game 5 with the Magic, with the Eastern Conference semifinal tied, 2-2.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Magic, Ray Allen
Doc on the passing of Chuck Daly 05.09.09 at 2:53 pm ET
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When Doc Rivers got the Orlando Magic coach job in 1999 he wasn’t the first coach to know about it. Chuck Daly was way ahead of him. Daly called Rivers into the office he was about to vacate and laid it all out for him–who to keep, who to trade, who to fire.

There wasn’t much Chuck Daly didn’t know about basketball. A lifer who started coaching high schools, he worked his way up through an assistant job at Duke and then on to head jobs at Boston College and Penn before landing his first NBA gig as the head coach of the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers. Daly didn’t last long there, but he found basketball nirvana with the Detroit Pistons where he led the Bad Boys to back-to-back NBA titles before later stints running the Nets and Magic.

Daly died Saturday morning in Jupiter, Fla. after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 78 years old.

“He loved it,” Rivers said. “He was a coach. He and Red Auerbach were very similar. You’d think when you called Red he’d give you a complicated answer, but they saw the game so simply. It’s a tough loss.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chuck Daily, Doc Rivers,
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