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Tuesday practice notes: Doc Rivers treats Game 5 like another Game 7, 04.30.13 at 2:19 pm ET
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WALTHAM — It’s a theme that began last weekend after the Game 3 loss to the Knicks. Every game the rest of the series is like Game 7. It worked in Game 4 as the Celtics won, 97-90, in overtime but the Knicks still lead the series, 3-1.

“Like I told them, what’€™s the difference between being down 0-3 and being in a Game 7?” Doc Rivers asked rhetorically. “It’€™s no different. It’€™s an elimination game. The difference is your mindset. In a Game 7 you’€™re thinking, ‘Let’€™s win it to win it.’ When you’€™re down 0-3, you never know. You may have a couple guys making vacation plans, thinking you can’€™t do it. It’€™s all about the mindset. And that’€™s what I told our guys before the game the other night and that will be the message still. Each game you win, it is a Game 7. If you advance, you just advance to another game instead of to the next round. That’€™s got to be our mindset.”

Rivers knows veterans like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry fully understand that message. The hope is that it’s filters to players like Avery Bradley and Jeff Green Wednesday night in New York.

“You know, Game 7s are all out,” Garnett said before Tuesday’s practice. “It’s just what they are. They’re your last opportunity to survive and your mentality can’t be anything different. We have no pressure at this point. It should be an all-out mentality and you should play with a free mind and an aggressive mind and take this thing one game at a time and see what happens. Other than that, we put [ourselves] in this position, and we can’t [complain] about too much.”

Did Sunday’s Game 4 OT win instill more confidence in the group as they hit the road?

“Don’t know,” Rivers answered. “I’m hoping that we had confidence to begin with, but I honestly don’t know. I think we are really looking forward to the next game.”

What was clear to Rivers and his coaching staff from watching film is that another 18 turnovers Wednesday in New York like they had on Sunday will end the season. Aside from turning the ball over, the Celtics need to repeat their offensive flow of the first half, when they shot 50 percent and built a 19-point halftime lead.

“Well, we have to repeat it,” Rivers said. “It’s clear when we play a certain way, and that’s in an attack mode, not settling offensively, moving the ball, getting in transition, we’re hard to stop. It’s also clear when we get into the half-court and slow the ball down we’re not that hard to stop and that’s obvious.”

Other nuggets from Tuesday practice from Doc Rivers:

Second chance points. Frustrating for KG? “That’s frustrating for him. And some of them were switches where we switch and Chandler is underneath with a guard. We got called for two face guard block outs, which is legal. And I think we have to explain that honestly to our official, because it doesn’t look legal and I agree with them in that, but it actually is a legal position. We’re telling our guards instead of backing up, turn around and face guard them and block them out that way. Your’e not going to get the ball, but they’re not going to either. So that’s something we’re trying to do. but their guards got a lot of rebounds too. Shumpert hurt us on the glass. Jason Kidd hurt us on the glass too. So we can’t give up the extra shots with the turnovers and the offensive rebounds and expect to win tomorrow on the road. We just can’t do that. So we have to definitely fix the turnovers first and then the rebounds second.

On admiring KG for hard work it takes to get ready? “No, people have no idea what he goes through, and you can’t unfortunately. But it really is watching him just in there now doing all the stuff that they’re doing, the stretching. He just plays because he loves it, and it’s will. A lot of guys would just not play anymore. The fact that he does and to the level that he does it, I mean he’s a rebounding machine for us right now, and we need it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, J.R. Smith, Jason Terry
Celtics coach Doc Rivers ‘proud of’ Jason Collins 04.29.13 at 2:09 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers issued this statement after former C’s center Jason Collins became the first openly gay active player in major American sports:

“I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collins. He’€™s a pro’€™s pro. He is the consummate professional and he is one of my favorite ‘team’ players I have ever coached. If you have learned anything from Jackie Robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. It will be society who has to learn tolerance. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘I am who I am, are whom we are, can be what I want to be. It’s not up to you, it’€™s just me being me.'”

Outing himself in this Sports Illustrated article, Collins quoted Rivers: “If you want to go quickly, go by yourself — if you want to go farther, go in a group.”

As recently as three weeks ago, Rivers discussed the inevitability of an openly gay NBA player. ‘€œThere’€™ll be a lot of talk about it, and then I think it will go away,’€ Rivers said before a Celtics practice on April 9, the day after he took the team to watch the “42” film about Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier.

SI’s Ian Thomsen caught up with Rivers after Collins’ announcement on Monday.

“He is terrific,” Rivers told Thomsen. “Losing him was hard for me because I just thought he was such a great teammate and such a great guy in the locker room. That’s what you want is those guys in your locker room.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Collins, NBA
Adrian Wojnarowski on D&C: ‘No easy path back’ to contention for Celtics at 9:04 am ET
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Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and the NBA playoffs.

The league’s two most successful franchises, the Celtics and Lakers, have become also-rans, and the future is not promising for either team.

“There’s no question there’s been a changing of the guard in the league,” Wojnarowski said. “You look at both teams, the Lakers and Boston, it’s going to be a while before either is in contention again. It’s hard to rebuild in this league, and it doesn’t happen quickly unless you draft LeBron [James] or Kevin Durant. It’s going to take a while, and I think both organizations have to face that reality, because we aren’t going to see these two in the finals again in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure.”

Wojnarowski said the the Celtics have a better front office than the Lakers and a more appealing coach in Doc Rivers, but the Lakers are more likely to return to prominence first because of the appeal of Los Angeles.

“If the Lakers have cap space, they’re always a team that’s going to attract the best player on the market,” Wojnarowski said. “I think Boston, as long as Doc is there and Doc is coaching, I think Boston is very attractive to players, more so to the elite players. But even then, Chris Paul didn’t want to come when they talked deals. It’s not LA.”

Wojnarowski said he thinks the Celtics will attempt to rebuild around Rajon Rondo, but they need some fortuitous moves to get out of the middle.

“That’s the worst place to be in the NBA — stuck in the middle,” Wojnarowski said. “You want to be really good or really bad. That’s the fear is you don’t want to get stuck in that middle place, because you can’t get out of it. You become Milwaukee, fighting for the eighth seed. You don’t want that.

“But I do think, though, the emergence of Jeff Green this year, you’ve seen that they can lean on him to do more and be a different kind of player. Listen, a year ago you didn’t know what his career was going to look like, with the heart ailment. And then this year you saw him become a much more explosive and reliable player. I think that’s a bonus for them. You look back at the Kendrick Perkins deal, and certainly it looks a lot better in hindsight than it did to people initially. But there’s no easy path back for them.”

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Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, Doc Rivers, Jeff Green, Kevin Durant
Doc Rivers on Jason Terry: ‘He brings sunshine’ 04.28.13 at 6:24 pm ET
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Doc Rivers knew Jason Terry was fired up and still ticked off from the J.R. Smith elbow on Friday night late in Game 3.

That fire and determination paid huge dividends on Sunday in a 97-90 overtime, season-saving win at TD Garden. Terry drained the go-ahead three with 1:32 left in overtime, as he scored the final nine points of Game 4.

Was it the elbow that Smith threw that got him fired up?

‘€œHe was definitely vocal,” Rivers said. “Someone said it [Saturday]; maybe that elbow ‘€“ who knows? [Terry] said it changed the events for all of us. Definitely Jason Terry was angry that it happened. He let his teammates know yesterday and today. But he’€™s just a fighter. I’€™ve told you that before. You know, I didn’€™t know him until this year and I said it the other day: he’€™s just one of those guys you want around your team, whether he’€™s playing or not. He brings sunshine. There’€™s guys ‘€“ I would say probably most of you guys, you bring those dark clouds every time I see you ‘€“ a couple of you don’€™t. But the sunshine-bringers, that’€™s who you want. And Jason Terry is one of those guys.’€

Terry scored 18 points in 41 minutes off the Boston bench, both playoff highs so far.

‘€œHe was great,” Rivers said. “You know, that’€™s what he does. He’€™s made so many big shots in his career; you knew in transition’€¦It’€™s amazing, you know, you guys don’€™t get to see it but when you watch all the guys, and not just Jason Terry, but when you watch them practice on the floor on their own, they work on certain shots. And that’€™s the shot, that transition three is something he works on all the time. And you knew once he got it what he was going to do. I thought it was interesting when you watch the play, I thought Jason Kidd knew it too. Because you could see him coming from the basket, from them playing with each other. So it was a big shot. And the other shot he made was big as well. So, that’€™s what he does. That’€™s good.’€

Rivers said the go-ahead three wasn’t the only huge shot Terry made in his 9-0 run.

‘€œYeah, yeah, but the five were big,” Rivers said. “The three, and the two off the pick, those were huge. I’€™ll take all of them, but the five, they were huge.’€

Here is the rest of Doc Rivers’ postgame press conference from Sunday.
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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, J.R. Smith, Jason Terry
Game 3 pregame: Kevin Garnett feels ‘good’, Avery Bradley battles through illness, Jason Terry starts for Brandon Bass 04.26.13 at 7:39 pm ET
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Asked if he would make any changes to the starting lineup, Doc Rivers said “we’ll see.”

As it turned out, there was a change as Jason Terry took the place of Brandon Bass to start the game.

Rivers also announced 45 minutes before Friday’s Game 3 with the Knicks that Kevin Garnett felt “good” in Thursday’s practice and kept pestering him to practice more. Rivers was playing it cautious with his star after Garnett injured his right hip in the Game 2 loss on Tuesday night.

As for Avery Bradley, Rivers explained his tardiness to Thursday’s practice was due to an illness, which kept him on the sidelines for most of practice. “We gave him a TUMS and told him not to do too much.”

Rivers said he wasn’t sure whether Bradley would start but that he is feeling “good” and would likely be available at close to 100 percent.

As for his $25,000 fine on Thursday from the NBA for criticizing officials after Game 2, Rivers said, “Like I said to [NBA security], I didn’t get fined for being wrong, I got fined for saying it.”

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Thursday notes: Doc Rivers declares ‘he’s Paul Pierce, not Christopher Reeve’ 04.25.13 at 4:07 pm ET
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WALTHAM, Mass. — Paul Pierce is a lot of things to the Celtics. He’s the captain, the leader, the top scorer, the best passer and one of the best defenders. But he can’t be the end-all, be-all to the Celtics if they are to have any chance of coming back in the series against the Knicks.

That was the message from Doc Rivers before Thursday’s practice.

“We’re not going to put all that pressure on Paul,” Rivers said. “If we’re asking Paul to score, start the offense and pass the ball, we’re going to struggle scoring. One of our [coaches] even gave me a list of guys who should throw the post pass and it was two guys, and I laughed because one of them was the post guy. That [narrows] our choices a little bit. We can be more creative. I have to be [more creative] because that’s just asking Paul to do too much. We’re asking him to guard [Carmelo Anthony] at times, we’re asking him to bring the ball up the court at times, we’re asking him to be our post passer. He’s Paul Pierce, not Christopher Reeve.”

Another player under the microscope in this series so far is Avery Bradley.

Bradley was not on the floor with his teammates to start practice but after showing up late did participate, according to the team. He is expected to play Game 3 Friday night at TD Garden.

In two losses to the Knicks, Bradley is averaging 10.5 points and 3 assists over 34.5 minutes per game.

“It’€™s a hard role for Avery,” Rivers said. “We talk about [increased responsibilities for] Paul, but we’€™re asking Avery to pressure, pressure, pressure, and then try to do something that he’€™s not. Avery’€™s a good basketball player, but we never wanted him to be in the position of facilitating offense, seeing that guys aren’€™t set, and trying to get guys in the right spots, delivering the pass on target — a lot of that. We’€™re asking a lot, we understand that.”

The Celtics have made the wrong kind of history in two abysmal second half performances. Not only have they recorded back-to-back franchise lows for playoff points in a half (25 in Game 1, 23 in Game 2), they are the first team in the shot clock era to score 25 or fewer points in the second half in consecutive games (regular season or playoffs).

They have managed just 149 points, which is the second-fewest points they’ve scored over any two-game span in their postseason history (They scored 146 points in Games 6 and 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals vs. the Lakers).

“Well, we’€™ve come out flat twice [in the second half],” Rivers said. “I don’€™t know why that is. But they put a lot of pressure on us. Game 2. They scored a ton of points, 32 in the third quarter. We took the ball out and they pressured us. But we’re not organized offensively the way we should be, in my opinion. And that’€™s what we have to be. You’€™re going to have to play some halfcourt in the playoffs and we knew that going into the series, we just haven’€™t handled it very well.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Christopher Reeve, Doc Rivers, NBA playoffs
Doc Rivers fined $25,000 for criticizing officials after Game 2 at 2:14 pm ET
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Sticking up for Kevin Garnett has cost Doc Rivers a pretty penny.

The Celtics head coach has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of officiating, Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations, announced on Thursday.

Rivers made his comments in the postgame press conference following the Celtics’€™ 87-71 loss to the New York Knicks on April 23 at Madison Square Garden.

Specifically, he was critical of the trio of David Jones, Rodney Mott and Derrick Stafford for what he termed “horrendous” foul calls on Garnett that he said had a “huge effect” on the Celtics in their 87-71 loss to the Knicks in Game 3.

Garnett was called for three fouls in the first half and had five fouls midway through the fourth quarter, when he came out of the game.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA officials
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