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Rivers on D&C: ‘You feel a responsibility’ to beat LA 05.31.10 at 11:02 am ET
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Doc Rivers celebrates the Celtics' Eastern Conference championship Friday. (AP)

Doc Rivers celebrates the Celtics' Eastern Conference championship Friday. (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the NBA finals against the Lakers. Rivers said his players do not view themselves as underdogs. “We don’t think that way,” he said. “We don’t care what others think. We believed going into the playoff rounds that we could get here and win it. We thought we needed to be healthy, and we did get healthy. I don’t know how healthy we are now, but we’re getting closer again. That was key for us. We just believe that the 23-5 team was the real team, at the beginning of the season. The 27-27 the rest of the way was due to different circumstances that had nothing to do with basketball. And we believe that as a group.”

Rivers talked about the respect he has for the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. “It means a lot,” he said. “I know the history. I love the history of the game. To be part of it is huge for me, personally. But you feel a responsibility. You don’t want them to beat you. And that’s just the bottom line. Let’s say you were playing Phoenix. You still would want to win the world championship, obviously. But you’re playing the Lakers, and it’s like you’re thinking more about you want to beat them and less about wanting to win the title. And that’s probably good.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

What is your schedule?

The schedule is we’re practicing at 11 o’clock. And then right after practice we’re jumping on a plane and flying out a day early — just with the time change and stuff. Then we’ll practice at UCLA tomorrow. Then we’ll have that league-mandated practice on Wednesday that I love so much.

Was that Nate Robinson’s 15 minutes of fame, or are we going to see more of Nate Robinson?

I think you’ll see more of him. It’s funny what you learn in losses. Nate Robinson didn’t play because we needed him in Game 6. Nate Robinson played because he played so well in Game 5, the game that Orlando beat us. It wasn’t the offensive end, it was the defensive end. He was doing all the things that we needed him to do, that we worked with him on. You could see that he had bought in. I remember turning to our bench early on and saying, “Hey, Nate’s going to help us.” I didn’t know he was going to do that, obviously, offensively or anything like that. If he can continue to do that, then yeah, he has a chance to help us. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Dennis & Callahan, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis
Kobe plays Keyshawn: ‘Give me the damn ball’ 01.31.10 at 8:26 pm ET
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Kobe Bryant again came through in the clutch, with this fourth-quarter shot preceding his game-winner in the final seconds of the Lakers' victory over the Celtics. (AP)

Kobe Bryant again came through in the clutch, with this fourth-quarter shot preceding his game-winner in the final seconds of the Lakers' victory over the Celtics. (AP)

Bad left ankle or not, injured right index finger or not, Kobe Bryant channeled Keyshawn Johnson on Sunday and made the Celtics pay in the end.

“I didn’t say, ‘Give me one more chance.’ I said, ‘Give me the damn ball.’ I didn’t really give [my team] much of a choice,” Bryant said of the moments in the huddle before his game-winner with 7.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“All we talked about was the execution of [the play], where I was going to catch the ball. That was the only difference. Throughout the course of the game, I was pretty much a decoy because of all the traps they run, but if I catch it at the top of the floor, it’s a different story.”

Then there are Celtics fans, who had a slightly different perspective — one that had Bryant clearly pushing off of Ray Allen to create space for the game-winner.

“I just tried to create space and get to a spot where I could elevate and knock it down,” Bryant explained.

Speaking of pushing off, Bryant said his left ankle was so sore he couldn’t elevate, leading to this tidy little jab at Allen.

“Oh yeah, I couldn’t push off,” Bryant said. “Ray’s athletic, but my elevator goes to the 12th floor, his stays at the seventh. But I couldn’t get to the 12th floor today, so it was hurting.

“Special for me, personally, because I had opportunity to win the game last year and I didn’t do it. I didn’t get the shot I wanted, so I wanted to make sure I redeemed myself today.”

Mr. Zenmaster himself, Phil Jackson — who tied Pat Riley for all-time wins by a Lakers coach on Sunday with his 733rd — said nothing feels better than putting the game in Bryant’s hands.

“He had a couple of looks before that that were good looks in that area and we were mystified he couldn’t put it in. He told me the next one he got out there he would drop it in and so we went with it,” Jackson said.

Read More: Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lakers,
Doc on Lakers: ‘Better than last year’ at 3:51 pm ET
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BOSTON  –  Doc Rivers knows how tough it is to repeat. The Celtics won the title in 2008 and won 66 games.

Last year, the Celtics won 62 but lost in seven games to the Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals when being without Kevin Garnett proved to be just too much to overcome.

Instead of a repeat, the Lakers won the title. And before Sunday’s game, Rivers sounded just a tad envious because instead of losing two key players like Boston lost in James Posey and P.J. Brown, the Lakers added Ron Artest, Shannon Brown and a healthy Andrew Bynum.

“I think having won the title, having the same title back , adding Artest, that continuity and health I think those have been three pretty good things for them,” Rivers said. “Gasol has been in and out for them, which hurt them early in the year, too. It’s rare when you get a championship team that adds to their team and they did. You don’t see that very often. People are taking away from championship teams. It’s rare that they come back better and they’re better than last year.

“I thought we took away from it. Losing Posey hurt us, losing P.J. Brown hurt us. But I think we’ve addressed that. Bringing in Marquis this year, bringing in Rasheed this year.”

[Click here to listen to Rivers compare his 2009 Celtics to the 2010 Lakers, teams attempting to defend a title.]

Read More: Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, NBA
Red Claws name assistant coaches 09.07.09 at 9:20 pm ET
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On Monday the Maine Red Claws named Randy Livingston and Mike Procopio assistant coaches for the upcoming inaugural season. Procopio, 34, has deep ties to the Boston Celtics organization. He spent four years as a scout for the Cs before working as an assistant at Boston Amateur Basketball Club under Leo Papile, the Celtics Assistant Executive Director of Basketball Operations. He developed a reputation as one of the top development coaches nationwide as Director of Basketball Operations for Attack Athletics in Chicago and has trained players including Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade.

“Along with having four years of NBA front office experience, Mike Procopio regularly works out some of the best players in the NBA,” Red Claws head coach Austin Ainge said in a team statement. “His experience and ability to develop players should make our team a desirable place for every player looking to make a jump to the next level.  As soon as I got this job, Mike was one of the first calls I made because of his experience teaching the game.”

Livingston, a 12-year NBA veteran, led the Idaho Stampede to the 2008 NBDL Championship. He retired from playing after his title-winning season to become the Stampede’s associate head coach. Livingston, 34, helped coach the team to a second place finish in the West Division (31-19) in his first season on the sidelines.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have a coach of Randy Livingston’s caliber to help me,” Ainge said.  “Randy knows the game, knows our league, and has experience at every level of basketball.  I trust Randy’s instincts and basketball IQ implicitly and will rely heavily on his opinion.”

Read More: Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Maine Red Claws, Paul Pierce
Bird’s favorite player is a Laker? 06.04.09 at 10:33 pm ET
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During halftime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, ABC aired an interview between Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant in which Johnson revealed Larry Bird considers Bryant his favorite player. Turns out Bryant has a one-sided love-hate relationship with Bird.

Johnson: Larry Bird told me that Kobe Bryant is his favorite player. How do you respond to that?

Bryant: You know what? That makes me feel, that makes me feel great. You know, I hated Larry growing up. I did, I hated his guts. But I loved him as a player and his work ethic and his intensity, his tenacity and I wanted to be that way. And the funny thing is, I’ve never actually met Larry Bird.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Los Angeles Lakers
An answer to Kobe vs. LeBron at 11:42 am ET
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Even while the Boston Celtics were defending their championship, advertising during the playoffs was dominated by Kobe vs. LeBron messages. Now that the NBA Finals match up is LA Lakers vs. Orlando Magic, what will happen to all the commercials? Dwight Howard has an answer. Check out vitaminwater’s newest ad, produced and directed by Howard, which will debut tonight during Game 1.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant,
No avoiding Kobe vs. LeBron 04.24.09 at 5:21 pm ET
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Even though NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke out against the NBA’s inclination toward a Cleveland Cavaliers-Los Angeles Lakers Finals, there is no ignoring the Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James chatter during the playoffs. This weekend vitaminwater is launching an ad on ESPN hypothesizing about a match up between the two All-Stars. Fans can weigh in on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vitaminwater.

Read More: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, NBA,
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