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Doc talks Sheed, NBA on WEEI 07.10.09 at 1:44 pm ET
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On Friday morning Celtics head coach Doc Rivers checked in with Mike Felger and Rob Bradford on WEEI. Click here to listen to his thoughts on the signing of Rasheed Wallace and the NBA offseason.

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Doc laughs off trades on ‘PTI’ 06.11.09 at 11:14 pm ET
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On Thursday Celtics head coach Doc Rivers dropped in on ESPN’s ‘€œPardon the Interruption‘€ to talk NBA Finals, Kevin Garnett, and the possibility of trades looking ahead to next season.

PTI: You were in the same situation last year that the Lakers are now. Up 2-1 and you won Game 4 and won the series, so how important is this game to the Lakers?

Rivers: Well it’s important to the Lakers. I think it’s more important to the Magic, obviously. You know the Lakers are looking at this, they would clearly like to win the next two games, but they’re thinking if they win one, they go back home with six and seven to win one, so for them that’s the way they’re thinking. Obviously for Orlando, they just have to try to hold serve at home. I’ve always thought, and I still believe, it’s a disadvantage they have three games in a row at home because when teams are evenly matched, it’s tough to win three games in a row anywhere. And so I do think it’s tougher on Orlando in that way.

PTI: Alright Doc, when all is said and done who do you think is going to win this series and the NBA Championship?

Rivers: You know, I hope neither one wins. I would just like to table it for next year. (Smiles) But now that I know that that can’t happen, I think being in the East, you’re always cheering for the East Coast teams. You don’t want the West to win anything. Having said that, I think the Lakers are the favorite. I just think they’re just so talented and they’ve been there before, so you’ve got to make them the favorite in this series.

PTI: Now let me ask you the hypothetical question that maybe you just alluded to with the beginning of that answer. If Kevin Garnett had not gotten injured, did you like your chances to repeat this year?

Rivers: Yeah I did, but he was and that’s part of the game and so I accept that. There’s times when you watch and you wish you could have had the opportunity to compete with a healthy basketball team. But guys, as you know in sports, injuries are absolutely part of the season and it happens and unfortunately it happens for us. And so to me the two best teams right now are Orlando and the Lakers and they deserve to be there. Next year we hope that’s a different story.

PTI: Doc, Kevin Garnett just had successful surgery and I know you’re hoping he’s going to be back for at least 75 or more games next year. But how did you feel about this guarantee that he was going to be able to lead the Celtics to another title. Is that a check you guys can cash?

Rivers: I love it. (Laughs) I love it. I hope he’s right. I hope it’s not a Patrick Ewing guarantee ‘€“ I lived through those. No, I love it. I love when players are confident. I think Kevin believes that, he wants that to happen, and so do we. And to me it’s good. I like when players start guaranteeing things. I like it more when they back it up and I’m hoping Kevin can do that.

PTI: I’m just thinking about two summers ago when you guys had the blockbuster move that kept talk radio and our show going for weeks. Are you and Danny (Ainge) plotting anything like that this summer? Do you see your personnel needing to be shuffled in that way?

Rivers: No I don’t, but we’ve got a huge trade we’re going to announce. I’m just joking. There’s no trade coming. (Laughs) No, no we’re good. I like who we are. I think we do have to add some length to our basketball team as well, especially with Leon Powe maybe not coming back for at least til midseason or later. We’ve got to add one more big to our team. Other than that, I love our basketball team, I love our guys, and I think we’ll be in great shape next year.

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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:


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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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.”

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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.’€

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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 »

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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 »

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