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In praise of Thibs 05.12.10 at 4:44 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Associate coach Tom Thibodeau has already been mentioned in connection with a number of head coaching jobs this season, and if his resume needed any more polishing he can point to the work his defense has done against the Cavaliers in this series.

If you throw out Game 3 when the Cavs shot almost 60 percent and scored 124 points, they have averaged just 90.5 points and shot less than 43 percent from the floor. Even with Game 3 in the mix, they have shot just 27 percent from 3-point range.

Much of the focus, as always, has been on LeBron James, but the Celtics team defense has been stellar (again, aside from Game 3), and much of that credit goes to Thibodeau and the plan he has in place.

“He’€™s terrific,” Doc Rivers said Wednesday after the team conducted a short practice. “He’€™s the best defensive coach I think in the league. I don’€™t know if there’€™s a better one and our guys buy into it. I think that’€™s very important. If they don’€™t buy into what you’€™re doing, it’€™s not going to work. We have a group of guys who are willing to buy in to what we want them to do, to what Thibs wants them to do, and that’€™s why it works.”

Paul Pierce has been in the crosshairs thanks to his matchup with James, but he has been quick to deflect praise back to his teammates. The Celtics have a solid gameplan for James: Try to make him take jump shots, keep him out of the paint whenever possible and don’t allow layups. The initial onus is on Pierce, of course, but he knows he has help waiting for him in the paint.

The other issue with a player like James is with all that focus and attention, his teammates can get open, but the Celtics have done a superb job of shutting down his complimentary players.

Antawn Jamison has averaged 13.2 points, and has been held under 20 points in every game except for Game 3. Mo Williams has also struggled, shooting just 39 percent from the floor and 3-for-15 from 3-point range. Anthony Parker has shot the ball well, but he’s simply not a threat like Jamison and and Williams.

The Celtics have a solid plan in place and the players are executing. That’s not an accident. Thibodeau is known as a grinder. A coach who puts in long hours of work and preparation. That kind of work should be appreciated without fail, but that’s not always the case in this league.

The Celtics, however, are firmly are on board with what Thibodeau preaches and it starts with Kevin Garnett.

“He needs the support of his head coach, one, and then it’€™s the best player,” Rivers said. “If the best player buys in, everyone follows. Tim Duncan bought in to Pop and [Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer] and they all followed. It’€™s the same here. Kevin bought in on Day One. And what choice do you have? You have to follow.”

If Thibodeau does finally break through and get a head coaching job, the Celtics will have a large hole to fill. But for now they are more than happy that he is on their side.

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Thibodeau interviews with Hornets 05.07.10 at 9:36 am ET
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Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau and former NBA player/current national NBA analyst Mark Jackson interviewed with Hornets executives for the team’s coaching vacancy Thursday in Boston.

Hornets spokesman Harold Kaufman said general manager Jeff Bower and team president Hugh Weber met with the two candidates along with with Gary Chouest, who has agreed to a deal with George Shin to become the majority owner of the team.

The Hornets now have interviewed five candidates, including former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson,  current Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and former NBA coach Mike Fratello.

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Report: Nets eye Tibs 04.20.10 at 10:48 am ET
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A report in the New York Daily News indicated that New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn might have interest in Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau for his team’s head coaching vacancy. According to the report, Thorn didn’t mention Thibodeau by name, but he did say he was looking for “somebody who has a defensive presence.”

That description fits Thibodeau, who has been the architect of one of the NBA’s best defenses during his three seasons with the Celtics. Thibodeau has interviewed for several head coaching jobs in the past and many think it’s only a matter of time until he gets one.

The Nets job would be intriguing in that the woebegone franchise finally is moving out of the Meadowlands and the team has a new owner with deep pockets, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Additionally, the Nets have a huge chunk of cap space and two cornerstone players already in place in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. Also, Thorn is a widely respected executive.

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Doc on Nate: ‘You take your chance’ 02.23.10 at 8:16 pm ET
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Doc Rivers wasn’t pulling any punches or setting expectations too high before Nate Robinson’s debut in a Celtics uniform.

“You absolutely look and watch on a guy’s past history,” Rivers said of Robinson’s troublesome reputation with the Knicks. “It’s a great indicator of what’s going to be next. And yeah, we look at all that. I also look at his ability and what he can do on the floor. You try to make a decision on what overrides what and then you take your chance. We’ve taken chances on guys and some have paid off and some haven’t but I’m willing to do that. I’ve always been willing to do that.

“I want him to be him on the court and that’s one of the things I said. We didn’t grab you, we didn’t want you for the things you haven’t done. We grabbed you for all the things you do on the court. As far as the other stuff, we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”

The coach said things were so rushed at the practice facility in Waltham on Monday – the only day the coaching staff has had to work with him – they had to have coaches come in to run the offense sets with no defense.

“One practice was [Monday] with no players,” Rivers said of Monday’s workout with Robinson running the point. “We ran our offense with Thibs [defensive coach Tom Thibodeau] at the two and Armond [Hill] at the three and it looked crazy. It looked awful, and it should have.”

Rivers said it would be way too much to expect Robinson to pick everything up on the fly.

“Well, I don’t know what he can grasp,” Rivers said. “That’s something we’ll find out as the year goes on. We gave him way too much stuff [Monday] and we knew that doing it and then afterward, [Tuesday] we’re just going to roll the ball out and just play. I think with a point guard, it’s very difficult to integrate a point guard in your system like this on the fly like this so we’ll do one set at a time for him.

“When he comes on the floor, basically we’ll be a one-set team and it will involve him, trying to create. It’s no secret to play basketball. We’ll figure it out.”

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Another head coaching vacancy opens 06.30.09 at 1:36 pm ET
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On Tuesday the Detroit Pistons announced Michael Curry will not return next season after his first year as an NBA head coach. Curry led the Pistons to a 39-43 record. They were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs a year after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are also still looking for a new head coach after firing Kevin McHale. Don’t be surprised to hear Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau’s name mentioned as a possible candidate for the two vacancies. He previously interviewed with the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings this offseason.

On Monday Celtics GM Danny Ainge said, “I have not heard from Minnesota. I had called them earlier, and they had told me that they are starting their coaching search after the draft.”

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Report: Thibodeau withdraws from Kings coaching search 06.09.09 at 11:31 pm ET
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Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau withdrew his name from the Sacramento Kings head coaching search, Cs head coach Doc Rivers told the Boston Globe. Thibodeau had been in the running for the position with Paul Westphal and Kurt Rambis, but was not considered to be a front runner. According to the Globe, Thibodeau is expected to work with the Celtics again next season.

Update: The Sacramento Bee has reported the Kings will hire former Boston Celtic Paul Westphal as their new head coach.

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Report: Kings to make head coach decision ‘pretty quickly’ 06.02.09 at 11:42 am ET
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The Sacramento Kings are looking to make a decision on their head coaching vacancy ‘€œpretty quickly,’€ according to Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee. The organization interviewed Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis on Monday, days after interviewing Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau for the position. They are reportedly interested in former Celtic Paul Westphal.

“They’re great candidates, all three of them,” Kings co-owner Joe Maloof told the Bee. “They’re all really good, so we’ll have to circle back with (President) Geoff (Petrie) a little later and see what he thinks. ‘€¦ We’ll have a decision pretty quickly.”

Earlier this week, the Bee reported Westphal is the leading candidate. Even though Thibodeau has proven postseason experience as an assistant, Amick points out Petrie had specific criteria in mind at the beginning of the job search:

‘€œThe mere presence of Thibodeau goes against Petrie’s initial outline of the parameters, as he had called for coaches with ‘some level of success’ as an NBA head coach. Rambis’ 24-13 record as a head coach qualifies, but comes nowhere close to Westphal’s 267-159 record.’€

Thibodeau also interviewed for the Philadelphia 76ers head coaching opportunity. They hired former Washington Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan.

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