|Game 7 pregame: The coaches||05.17.09 at 7:55 pm ET|
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.”
|Much needed practice for Celtics||05.16.09 at 1:32 pm ET|
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.
‘When you don’t practice you have slippage, and we’ve had a ton of slippage,’ Rivers said after practice. ‘Our 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.
‘Execution is always key, down to the littlest thing,’ Rivers said. ‘When 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.
‘Not a thing, really,’ he said. ‘We 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.’
|Final thoughts before Game 6||05.14.09 at 6:52 pm ET|
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 »
|Close out special||at 1:05 pm ET|
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 »
|‘Wild run’ continues for Celtics, Rivers||05.12.09 at 1:19 pm ET|
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 »
|Doc on the passing of Chuck Daly||05.09.09 at 2:53 pm ET|
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 »
|Doc on Manny: That’s shocking and disappointing||05.07.09 at 2:04 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Celtics coach Doc Rivers is not just an NBA head coach, he is a huge sports fan. And when news broke Thursday that Manny Ramirez had been suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enchancing substance, he reacted just like a sports fan.
“It’s disappointing, it really is,” Rivers said before his team’s film session. “It’s the baseball whole thing and that’s obviously a part of it right now. I don’t know. That’s shocking and disappointing.”
But Rivers didn’t stop there. He battles with the issue much like every sports fan does, trying to weigh what matters to fans and what’s in the best interest of the sport. Read the rest of this entry »
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