|Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I just thought it was time to show’ loyalty||05.16.11 at 10:37 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, three days after agreeing to a five-year contract extension to remain with the team.
Rivers said that rumors he was contemplating whether to take a sabbatical from coaching so that he could spend more time with his family weren’t accurate — at least not this year.
“Last year, they were probably more right,” he said. “Last year I was absolutely leaning that way. This year I really never was. After last year’s summer and going through the decision that we went through, I was pretty sure I was coming back and I was pretty sure I wanted to come back here.
“This is a special place. And I’ve said that before. You can’t get a lot of these jobs where you coach teams like the Celtics, or the Red Sox, or the Yankees, and I have one of them. I work with a great GM in Danny Ainge and I have good ownership. So, why change?”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Doc, if you don’t mind revealing this, whose idea was it for the longterm contract? Was it you that wanted the extra years, or did Danny want to lock you up for the extra years? Whose idea was it?
Danny brought it up to me. When he first brought it up, I was surprised by it. This was a while ago that he brought it up. I think actually he brought up even more years to start.
I never thought of it in those terms. Because we kept doing these one-year or two-year deals, and I never thought of it. Danny walked in my office and said, “Listen, I want you to be here with me for a long time. And I want to make this something where we’re together for a long time.” And so he brought up the number of years.
You’ve got to process that when you commit to something for that long. We did, and we thought it was the right thing to do.
|Danny Ainge: ‘We could be up 3-2 in this series’||05.12.11 at 6:00 pm ET|
Following his team’s disappointing Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Heat in five games, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his final weekly appearance of the season on The Big Show. Already working on the draft, Ainge pretty much touched on everything, so here’s a quick rundown of the hot stove topics (for audio of the complete interview, click here).
On the Heat: “I’m a little frustrated. Without taking credit away from the Heat — and they made tough shots and big plays when they needed to — we could be up 3-2 in this series. …
“They’re the team that we’re going to have to compete with for the next six or seven years — maybe longer.”
On Rajon Rondo’s injury: “That was a huge factor. We were playing without one of our key guys — if not the most important guy. I give Rondo a lot of credit for doing all he could to get ready to play, but he had some back issues as well. That made it extremely difficult for us.”
On coach Doc Rivers’ future: “I think Doc is coming back. We talk all the time, and I got that impression a few weeks ago. I think we’ll get something done, and we could get something done very shortly on a long-term contract.”
More on the long-term possibility: “I think it’s the wrong assumption about Doc that he would just want to be here with these guys. He’s a coach at heart. He likes being in Boston. We have a great relationship. We work together as an organization, and we like each other. He’s a coach, and he’s a teacher. I think he likes the idea of being a Jerry Sloan-type, being with one team for a long time. I think we could sign him to a long-term contract.”
On the Big Three’s future: “I think there’s a lot of basketball left in them, but Father Time always loses. Their days of carrying a team night in and night out might be over, but their ability to still contribute to a championship team is still there.”
On the collective bargaining agreement: “We need to figure out the rules we’re all playing under. Once we figure that out, we can start coming up with answers.”
On potentially trading the Big Three: “I would have to look into that if a good trade came about.”
On potentially training Rondo: “Probably not. I can never say never, but that’s not our plan right now. Absolutely not.”
On the Kendrick Perkins trade: “I don’t believe that the trade was the reason we are done today. Our offense failed us in the last few games. Our defense was terrific. We were missing shots 10 feet from the pin, and they were making them from the sand trap. I think the injuries to Rajon and even Delonte West were more of a factor. … Read the rest of this entry »
|Rivers: Rajon Rondo may be in more pain than Game 4||05.11.11 at 6:32 pm ET|
MIAMI — Rajon Rondo will play in Game 5 despite a painful dislocated left elbow, as expected, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he will keep a close watch on Rondo.
“In some way I think he’s in more pain than he was going into Game 4, but I think he at least has an idea on how to deal with it more,” Rivers said. “We’re hoping that he can give us something and if he can’t then we’ll have to make a decision on the floor.”
Rivers is most concerned about the defensive end where he feels the Heat took advantage by forcing him into difficult positions on help defense.
“A lot of times the guy that’s been in the help spot, that requires a physicality and he literally couldn’t do it,” Rivers said. “We thought it opened up too many driving lanes for them. We have to try a couple of things. First, keep him out of those positions if possible, and two he just has to do it, and if not then we have to make a decision.”
Rivers will turn to Delonte West if that’s the case who had a strong performance in Game 4. Carlos Arroyo is also active.
Shaquille O’Neal, Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic are inactive for the Celtics. Even without Shaq there’s no guarantee that Nenad Krstic will see more playing time. He didn’t play in either of the last two games.
“We may shorten the rotation more,” Rivers said. “You’re always walking the fine line with Kevin [Garnett] because he’s the only guy that’s been on a minutes restriction the last two years. So, if we can keep his minutes to the right where he’s still effective we may shorten it, but if not you may see Nenad.”
For the Heat, Udonis Haslem is active again, although he may not have much of a role after his short, but eventful, stretch in his return in Game 4 when he badly missed a jumper, committed a pair of fouls and picked up a technical foul.
“The most important thing when I made the decision to activate him was because of his leadership,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
|Shaquille O’Neal reportedly resists statue at alma mater||at 1:17 pm ET|
Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal reportedly is resisting plans by LSU to erect a life-sized statue of the 7-footer in front of the university’s new basketball practice facility.
According to the website Sports by Brooks, Shaq has donated “multiple millions” funds to his alma mater but always requested that his name not be placed on any of the new facilities he helped fund.
The website reports that the school already has competed the statue of O’Neal dunking the ball in an effort to convince him to accept the honor. There also are plans to have three other statues, representing Pete Maravich, Bob Petit and women’s standout Seimone Augustus. O’Neal reportedly has donated the money for the Augustus statue.
|Shaquille O’Neal doubtful for Game 5||at 11:29 am ET|
MIAMI — Shaquille O’Neal is doubtful for Game 5, and even that may be too generous of a classification. Shaq didn’t play in the second half or overtime of Game 4 against the Heat, and it wasn’t a coaching decision by Doc Rivers. It was strictly health-related.
“It was physical,” Rivers said at the team’s shootaround prior to Game 5. “Don’t know yet today. I will say I doubt it. That little stretch of the game it got worse.”
Rivers said that Shaq’s condition worsened in the four minutes he played in Game 4 and it doesn’t sound like he will be able to play no matter what happens in Game 5 or beyond.
“It’s nothing he can do. It’s not like he’s not trying,” Rivers said. “He’s done everything you possibly can do to get healthy. Unfortunately for him, he just hasn’t been able to do it. When he originally got injured no one thought it was that serious. It just never healed and it still hasn’t, and now every time he plays it gets worse.”
Rivers was asked whether this could be the end for O’Neal, who has a player to option to return next season.
“I think it’s too early to talk about it,” Rivers said. “I’ve learned personally you never try to make any decision during the heat of the battle. Emotionally you’re always going to make the wrong choice, so I think he’ll walk away from it this summer and then decide what he’s going to do. I just know this has been emotionally draining to him, more than you guys would know. He feels awful about this because this is why he came here, to get to the playoffs. Not being able to do that has really hurt him.
Rivers does expect Rajon Rondo to play with his dislocated left elbow, but he’s going into the game with the same wait-and-see approach that he had in Game 4. “I don’t know how much better he’s going to be, he is what he is,” Rivers said. “He’s a little better, I would guess.”
|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Jermaine O’Neal ‘a decisive force’||05.09.11 at 9:28 am ET|
ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics-Heat series. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Rajon Rondo‘s health was the primary topic of discussion, as everyone waits to see how the point guard will respond two days after dislocating his left elbow during the Celtics’ Game 3 victory. If Rondo plays, Van Gundy said the Heat assuredly will test him right away.
“Obviously, Miami has time to adjust and adapt and really send him left on every penetration,” Van Gundy said. “I’d pick up him up full court and see if he can advance the ball with his left hand. Because you can’t take it easy on someone with an injury. So, the adrenaline rush from the other night — and it truly was a heroic thing he did — whether it can carry over to another night, I’m not sure.”
Added Van Gundy: “I think it all depends on who you are, your competitive spirit and personality, your level of speed and quickness to be able to get back to that dominant hand. And obviously, Rondo has all of those. Now, I think it will impact him shooting, because you need your left hand to help you get the ball up into the shooting position. And I would suspect they may leave him more open than they normally do.”
If Rondo can’t be productive, Van Gundy noted that the Celtics have other options. “Delonte West — he’s not a setup-type point guard, he’s not a create shots for others-type point guard, but he can play effectively,” Van Gundy said. “I thought he had a good game in Game 3.
“They’re going to have play a really good game again tonight, and it will be interesting to see if they can regenerate that same intensity and energy and enthusiasm.”
On the subject of the ailing Shaquille O’Neal, Van Gundy said: “I felt badly for O’Neal in the last game. … I found [it] tough to watch, actually. I give him a lot of credit for going out there and not worrying about how he was looking but giving of himself for the betterment of the team, whatever he could provide. And he is still a force when it comes to having to block him out on the offensive boards.”
Van Gundy said Shaq’s return overshadowed a solid performance by the Celtics’ starting center. “If you looked at Jermaine O’Neal — which is the ONeal that everyone should have been talking about after that game — that guy, he put his heart into that game,” Van Gundy said. “He blocked shots, he took charges. I thought Jermaine O’Neal was absolutely a decisive force in Game 3. But they have to keep doing it to have a chance. It can’t just be a one-game hit.”
|Fast Break: Rajon Rondo’s return sparks Celtics||05.07.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo played with one arm, Shaquille O’Neal actually played basketball and Kevin Garnett submitted a vintage performance — and it all added up to a gritty 97-81 Celtics victory in what was essentially a must-win Game 3 against the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
In a scary third-quarter moment, Rondo got tangled up with Dwyane Wade and dislocated his elbow. After receiving treatment, he shockingly returned for the fourth quarter — finishing with 11 assists and six points with essentially one arm. Meanwhile, Shaq scored just two points in eight minutes.
If not for those two Celtics comebacks, Garnett would’ve been the headliner — totaling 28 points and 18 rebounds in the victory. Wade led the Heat with 23 points, and Mario Chalmers added 17 off the bench.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Big Three: Even before Rondo went to the locker room with an elbow injury — and especially while Rondo got treatment — the Celtics’ Big Three asserted themselves and carried the team on both ends of the floor. The trio looked as sharp as they had all series, totaling 70 points on 26-of-51 shooting. Paul Pierce nearly matched Garnett’s output with 27 points of his own.
Meanwhile, the C’s Big Three held Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh to 43 combined points on 15-of-41 shooting. Bosh was nearly invisible, totaling only six points and five rebounds.
Encouraging start: For the first 5:07 of Game 3, the Celtics appeared ready to seize early control and set a tone for what the Heat could expect in Boston. The Garden crowd was loud, and the starting five’s play spoke louder. Behind a stifling defense and out of the flow of a well executed offense, Pierce scored 10 early points as the Celtics took a 16-7 lead — forcing Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to spend a timeout with 6:53 still remaining in the first quarter.
Shaq comes back: With 2:41 remaining in the first quarter, Shaq returned to the court for the first time this postseason and just the second time since Feb. 1. A minute and a half later, he scored his first bucket to put the Celtics up 27-20. He played 4:46 in the first half — lumbering for much of it, but also altering at least a few Miami shots on the defensive end. His final line of two points and one rebound were less climactic — but his 8:29 playing time was certainly encouraging.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Down goes Rajon Rondo: With 7:01 left in the third quarter, Wade and Rondo got tied up in the paint on the Celtics end, and Rondo landed awkwardly on his arm — appearing to hyperextend his left elbow. After clutching his arm on the floor for what seemed like an eternity, trainer Ed Lacerte ushered Rondo — and what appeared to be the C’s season — into the locker room.
At the end of the third quarter, Rondo returned to the Celtics bench with a dislocated elbow. And he returned to the floor to start the fourth quarter, bringing the crowd to a deafening level. He played the entire fourth quarter.
Joel Anthony’s energy: As has been the case all series long, the Celtics had no answer for Anthony (12 points, 11 rebounds) off the bench. He recorded 10 points (on 5-of-5 shooting) and seven rebounds in the first half alone. Four of those seven boards came on the offensive end, where he often found himself wide open underneath the basket (hence the perfect first-half field-goal percentage).
Ray Allen’s foul trouble: Questionable or not, Allen picked up his third foul with 6:48 still to play in the second quarter as he brushed Wade’s elbow on a 3-point attempt. The whistle came on the heels of a string of questionable calls by the refereeing crew of Bob Delaney, Bill Kennedy and Steve Javie. Also, Moments after Rondo’s injury, Wade took down Allen underneath the basket, and Allen had to be restrained from going after Wade — a rare but understandable burst of anger for the 3-point king, for certain.
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