Tag:Doc Rivers
Posted on: April 8, 2011 10:10 am

Around the Web: Bulls-Celtics reaction

Posted by Matt Moore

A look at the reactions to the Bulls' win over the Celtics Thursday night...
But there is a reason the Celtics shot terribly. For one, Kurt Thomas, Joakim Noah, and even Omer "The Turkish Delight" Asik were beasts inside, and Luol Deng had a Pippen-esque defensive performance tonight. More than anything though it was just an unrelenting energy from Chicago. They played like we've come to expect the Celtics to play. They were active defensively, and unrelenting. They didn't take possessions off, and even when they screwed up a rotation or allowed penetration, they hustled like a man possessed to get back to rights. Even Kyle Korver..I'm not kidding.

That meant that the Celtics had no time for hand wringing on offense. That meant that if the Celtics had an open shot, they either took it without thinking, or it was taken away. That meant more often than not the Celtics put up a shot they didn't want to. It meant the Celtics got a taste of what its like to play a team that has gelled cohesively around the idea that they will win games with their defense and just bought into being the best they can on that end. Basically it meant the Celtics got a taste of what it has been like to play the Celtics for most of the past 4 seasons.
via CelticsBlog - For Boston Celtics Fans.

Energy is the most discussed element in regular season games between playoff contenders. The losing team will always cite a lack of energy, leading towards a "we play for the playoffs" angle in a "we just didn't have it tonight" manner, while the winning team will cite "being locked in." The start of this game very much looked like both teams were locked in. The Bulls were as relentless as described above, and that's their strongest defensive feature. They don't overreact to problems and they rarely let issues compound one another. Consistency has the value of gold in the NBA. And the Bulls have mountains of it. 
Listing other contributors starts with Luol Deng, overcoming early foul trouble to outscore his long-time rival Paul Pierce (seriously!) 23-15, Keith Bogans had two 3-pointers in his initial stint to help the hot start, Carlos Boozer had a brief spurt of dominance in the 2nd half against the C's backup bigs...but this offense was nearly all Derrick Rose tonight. He finished with 30 points on 16 shots, insanely efficient, and he still could (scarily) have been even better considering some of the 3-pointers he attempted. 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and the halftime highlight package from Mike Fratello focused on him setting a screen.

And yet, even considering all his brilliance (and placed alongside Rondo's opposite-of-brilliance, made to look even that much better), Rose still saw the Celtics hanging in close for much of the 3rd quarter. It was a game that felt better watching that the score indicated. But the Bulls have more than one star, and it was the defense that put the game out of reach. The Celtics couldn't run at all, matched their best playmakers (Pierce and the KG fadeaway) well, and looked completely stifled at points while they stared at a Davis 20 footer.
via Bulls take down Celtics with usual formula: Rose lights up, Defense shuts down - Blog a Bull.

Deng's contributions, not only Thursday night, but overall, lead you to understand how pivotal he is to the Bulls' success. The Bulls set the tone of this game early, going to Deng twice against Pierce while Rose remained off-ball. When the Celtics adjusted and started sending help, the Bulls switched gears and moved Rose into the focal point of the offense. But the start was enough to keep Deng involved which helped get his jumper wet later on. Deng's mid-range game is the equivalent of Lamar Odom's cuts to the basket. When he's making those types of plays, you throw up your hands and wonder what you can do against them. 

The reason the game felt better watching than the score indicated? Snail's pace. The game was plugged at an 85-possession pace. That's compared to the league-average 94-possessions pace.  Games at that pace make every make that much more effective and every miss that much more painful. And Glen Davis gave Celtics fans a lot of pain Thursday night. 
Can you imagine Rose behaving like Kobe or making statements like LeBron? Of course you can’t, because he hasn’t, and he wouldn’t (as far as we can tell three seasons into his career). Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to single out those two guys to bash them. Superstars have little patience for failure and tend to blast their coaches and teammates from time to time. Michael Jordan did it. He used to complain bitterly about Phil Jackson’s use of the triangle offense. He punched out both Will Perdue and Steve Kerr at practice. He called guys out to the press.

No, my point isn’t to punish LeBron, Kobe or MJ for how they express their competitive urges. I’m just trying to point out that Rose isn’t like anything we’ve ever seen. People have likened him to Allen Iverson, of all people, a man who refused to play on anybody’s terms but his own. Which is why that comparison is flawed to the point of senseless irresponsibility. While people are constructing statistical arguments that show Rose is a sort of Iverson 2.0, they should probably spend a little time watching him play, and following how he conducts himself.
via Statement Made: Bulls 97, Celtics 81 » By The Horns

You'll want to remember this later. Every star NBA player has this day. When everything is going right, and everyone loves him, and why can't others try and be a little more like him? Then eventually, things change, the media machine evolves, circumstances change, and the narrative shifts. Rose will have his own time of criticism not just from the media but from the fans. Or he'll become Michael Jordan. One or the other. Bulls fans will all say "No, you don't understand, Rose is different."  Because that's what everyone says at this special moment in time. That doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy it. We should. Just keep it in your back pocket to look back on later. 
So Rondo requested a rare post-game meeting with Rivers likely to discuss matters. Rondo asked for the meeting and talked for a few minutes with Rivers in his office, perhaps to clear the air about play calling and Rondo's up-and-down performances.

After compiling 46 assists in the past four games, Rondo collected just six last night on 3-for-10 shooting. His counterpart, Derrick Rose, scorched the Celtics for 30 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

Rondo was visibly disappointed after the game.

"Think we need to play with a better sense of urgency," he said before his meeting with Rivers. “It better be a wakeup call, if not, we won’t make it far. We’re a completely different team (than last year). It’s not the same team. We’re not going to be able to turn it on like we did year. I don’t know what we’re waiting on but these types of games we have to find a way to win. It’s a roller-caster and right now we went back down today."
via Rondo, Rivers meet after Celtics loss -Celtics blog - Boston Globe basketball news.

It was bizarre to see Rondo steering through the lanes, then unable to find anyone for the kickout or dump-off and missing layups. In the continuing "taste of their own medicine" theme, Rondo was probably the one who found out what it's like on the other sideline the most. Watching a brilliant young point guard school him time and time again. And there's no real way to spin it. Rondo just got beat. It was a team effort, the help defense should have been better, and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce could have kicked it up a notch trying to get free. But this one falls on Rondo, not for lack of effort, but because them's the breaks of the game. We haven't seen the Rondo of early season for months. We're assuming we'll see him in the playoffs. Assuming.
"This meant a lot because you're going against a team you could see in the playoffs," Rose said. "You don't want those teams to have confidence. We were aggressive. There were some plays guys were about to fight. That's the way it's going to be. We're a tough team. We grind wins out."

About the only downer came when Joakim Noah grabbed just six rebounds in just 23 minutes and iced his swollen right ankle afterward. He didn't play the final 15:19. That meant extended minutes for Thomas, who got yanked down by Glen Davis early in the fourth and hovered over the fallen Celtic in a WWE moment.
via Chicago Bulls: Chicago Bulls romp over Boston Celtics 97-81 in playoff atmosphere - chicagotribune.com.

Deng also got into KG's ear after a box-out. He was chirping in Garnett's face, and Garnett just walked away. Thomas stood over Davis and the Celtics didn't retaliate. They helped Davis up and separated the two, but didn't shove or become aggressive. 

Whoever these Celtics are, they're nothing like what we've seen. 

Posted on: April 7, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 4:20 pm

Road to the Finals: Boston Celtics

Posted by Royce Young

If I were writing this piece a month and half ago, things might be a bit more optimistic. If I were writing this piece a month and a half ago, I think I'd likely be skipping all talk about the first and second rounds and going straight to possible Eastern and even NBA Finals opponents.

But a lot happened over the past 45 days or so. A lot happened that drastically changed the outlook of the 2010-11 season for the Boston Celtics.

You know the story. Danny Ainge decided to trade ubuntu cornerstone and family member Kendrick Perkins away for Jeff Green and a balding 27-year-old. The team was now relying on Shaquille O'Neal's 39-year-old body to heal up and be ready for the grind of the playoffs. The team was banking on Green -- a notoriously inconsistent player -- to consistently provide a scoring punch off the bench and stabilize things on the wing. The team was trying to keep an eye toward the future while still focusing on the now.

Except the now might've been badly damaged.

Since the Perkins trade, the Celtics are 13-9. They're giving up more points per possession, scoring less and losing to teams they almost always handle. Now my personality is anti-panic, so I'm definitely not doing anything of the sort for Boston. But let's face the music here: The team is much different without Perkins. Differently in personality, different in personnel, different in ability. Boston is really missing not just that one-on-one post defender they had in Perk, but what his attitude and intensity brought as well. 

Road To The Finals
I really agree with Bill Simmons, who knows that team better than anyone. They really believed in their group. They believed in the fact nobody had ever beat them when they were at full strength. They walked with a serious swagger, they believed in each other. I'm not exactly sure what message was sent to the team when Ainge traded Perkins, but I don't think it was a positive one. You can spin that deal any way you want -- it was for the future, the Celtics needed a wing, it helps the bench -- the players didn't respond well to it. And the actual team is the most important factor in all of this.

As it stands going into tonight's matchup with the Bulls, Boston sits second in the East, tied with the Heat and three back of the Bulls. Gone is the possibility of the top seed and it'll be a tussle to place second too. The Celtics are headed for an opening round series with either Philadelphia or New York. Fifty days ago, Boston looks superior in every way against both those teams. Now, things look a bit more iffy.

But here's where we pump the brakes.

The Celtics are, in fact, still 54-23. (Know what they were last year when they stormed to The Finals? 50-32 and fourth in the East.) They Celtics are, in fact, still good. They still have Ray Allen. They still have Kevin Garnett, They still have Paul Pierce. They still have Rajon Rondo. Maybe they're missing a big, mean-looking piece in the middle, but it can be overcome.

They defend. They score in crunch time. They're playoff tested. These guys know how to win. They know what it takes. Nobody has quite the same motivation as the Celtics, because nobody else suffered a painful Game 7 defeat in The Finals last June. Doc Rivers talked about how the team has that same excitement for the game and each other that it had in training camp in 2007 when they went on to win it all. This team is still very, very good.

Keep in mind, Perkins had only played in 11 games with Boston this season. The Celtics have experienced most of their success this season without him. But again, that's just without him on the floor. People tend to underestimate things like chemistry. Though Perk might not have been playing, the rest of the team knew he was coming soon, and really just in time for when they really needed him.

Is this Boston group a true Finals contender? Of course. Absolutely they are. The Celtics could trade Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and they'd still have Miami's number just because they're in the Heat's head completely. But no longer can this group take things for granted. They aren't going to cruise past the 76ers or Knicks. And despite having the Heat by the tail, they aren't going to just skip past them either.

Then it's about the Bulls. Doc Rivers and Ainge can tell themselves that getting Shaq back will be an answer in matching up inside with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. That might be true. But things are different now for the Celtics. They've lost a little something. An edge, a mentality, a swagger -- whatever. And they may have lost their chance at it all this year too.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 7:44 pm

Doc Rivers will eventually take a sabbatical

Posted by Royce Young

There has been a lot of information and speculation recently on Doc Rivers and his future in Boston.

So here's another note on that to keep in mind.

Via CNN New England, Rivers says he will definitely step away for a time.  "I'm still gonna do it eventually," Rivers said . "Not just for the family. I just think it's healthy. Teachers take sabbaticals to retool, to recharge. I think coaches need to do that as well. So I will."

A lot see this as his last season at the helm of the Celtics are he will likely take at least a year off to watch his son Austin play at Duke. But Rivers said it himself there: It won't just be for the family. Coaching in the NBA is definitely the type of job you can't do if you're not all in and if Rivers feels that way, he'd being doing himself, his family and his organization a favor by stepping away.

Rivers also recently acknowledged that it will be "very difficult" for him to walk away from the Celtics, but like he said above, he'll do it eventually. We'll just have to wait and see if it's this year. Between the uncertainty of even if there will be a next season, this might be a pretty good time to do it. Especially if the Celtics finish on top. But right now, that's all that's on Rivers' mind anyway.

Category: NBA
Posted on: April 5, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 7:25 pm

Celtics' system can't cure everything for Green

Jeff Green says all the right things about where his game needs to go in Boston, but the early returns are not great. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Is a team truly more the product of its players or its system? Surely both are essential on both sides of the ball. Lack the personnel, and you physically won't be able to execute the principles the system demands. Lack a cohesive system, and too often individual player tendencies will disrupt the balance on either side of the ball, creating opportunities for the opponent. Often, strong systems seem to mask what at the surface level are underwhelming players. The idea then percolates that inserting an inferior player to the system will create similar results, because it's the syste, not the player, that's essential. Boston certainly would seem to fit that model, but Jeff Green's first month and a half with the Celtics is drawing some concerns on that front. 

The internet was ablaze with discussion of Green and how he's fitting in with the Celtics. The offense is a talking point, but can you really expect Green to be a significant contributor with the kind of offensive firepower he's sharing the floor with? The occassional three or dunk off the drive, sure. But he's stacked on each side by Hall of Famers. No, where Green really needs to make an impact, and dispell a notorious reputation for softness, is in rebounding. And everyone's got an opinion on that subject. 
Rivers also highlighted one other area where he'd like to see Green be more assertive.

"One of the things he has to improve on is rebounding," said Rivers. "He had zero [on Friday], he had four [Sunday]. He can be a better rebounder for us."

Green agreed that he can still make strides both on the glass and on the defensive end of the floor, suggesting production in both of those areas is even more important than his contributions on offense.

"I want to do more on defense," said Green. "I need to rebound more. I need to just focus on that instead of what I need to do on the offensive end."

Since joining the Celtics, Green has averaged only 2.5 rebounds per game, after averaging 5.6 during his time with the Thunder this season. Green's defensive rebounding rate since coming to Boston registers at just 9.9 percent, which is lower than the 13.6 percent he hauled in as a member of the Thunder this season, and is well below the league average for forwards at 16.2 percent, according to HoopData.

"I'm comfortable with everything [on offense]," said Green. "Defense is where I need to get better at, as far as rotations, [with] rebounding being the key thing. Put that in all caps, italicize it, whatever you want to do. That's the main thing which I need to get better at."
via No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN Boston.

So it's good that Green recognizes what he needs to work on, and that Rivers is trying some of that patented motivational work on him. But the signs that the defense is a red flag area are even more alarming. Like, big, blaring siren that is so loud you can't think of anything else. Like fire alarm in a small metal room loud. From Sports Illustrated
Parse the numbers a bit more, and a second trend is repeating itself, one that might temper the bad news a bit: Most of this deluge of opponent scoring is coming when Boston plays Green at power forward. Considering only these 10 lineups, opponents have scored about 123 points per 100 possessions when Green is at the “4.” That number would embarrass the Raptors. The bad news: The  lineup in which Green has logged by far the most minutes features him at power forward alongside Boston’s core four of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. This group has played 46 minutes together, triple the number of minutes Green has played with any other foursome.
via The Point Forward » Posts Green not living up to Celtics’ hopes … yet «.

Yikes. Green's been considered a "tweener" forever and this provides even more evidence that he's not growing out of that label any time soon. He's too big to guard speedy perimeter threes, and two light to guard muscular fours. The rebounding is a mental edge, one that he simultaneously acknowledges and refuses to integrate. The numbers stand out more on the Celtics because of their excellence in that area (8th in defensive rebound rate), but in reality, as ProBasketballTalk.com points out, this is nothing new for Green:
Pretty much what happened at the Thunder. You can rationalize it and say if you play him at different positions (more three than four) or put him in with different lineups you’ll get better results. Maybe. The Celtics are a team that figures things out, and Green provides nice depth off the bench on offense. Players do improve. Sometimes. But basically, this is Jeff Green. What you are seeing is what you will get.
via Celtic fans, what you see with Jeff Green is what you get | ProBasketballTalk.

Part of this is a function of having a top heavy team loaded with stars. You've seen similar instances with the Celtics in the past, as role players have been inconsistent in key areas (Nate Robinson, Leon Powe, Eddie House), and the same elements exist on teams like the Heat, where players are quality veterans, but lack abilities in key areas at their position (Joel Anthony, Mario Chalmers, Eddie House, again). But Green what also considered to be part of the return for Kendrick Perkins, a valuable role player going forward that could contribute in multiple areas. The system was supposed to aleviate various weaknesses in his game. Instead, at least so far, he's been the same player. Can you really change the makeup of a player by inserting him into a different system, especially in a close-knit, brusque, veteran-laden environment like the Celtics' locker room? 

If there's one area of the trade that seems to show some signs of life towards the systemic approach, it's the center swapped. Nenad Krstic's rebound percentage has risen to 14.2 percent from 11.9 in Oklahoma City (5.6 from 4.4 per game, while Kendrick Perkins' has dropped from 19.0 to 18.2. Granted, there's an extremely small sample size on both sets, especially considering the small number of games Perkins has been available for due to injury. Interestingly, Krstic is actually out-performing Perkins at the Celtics' biggest weakness, offensive rebounding. The Celtics are dead last in that category, but Krstic has made a slight improvement in his numbers there. 

Jeff Green's offensive rebounding numbers? They've gone from bad to worse
Posted on: April 1, 2011 4:12 pm

Rivers: 'Very difficult to leave this situation'

Posted by Royce Young

There has been chatter recently about Doc Rivers' future in Boston. He was close to leaving the team after the Finals last season, but was coaxed back by the Celtics' big three.

But with his son Austin going to Duke and Rivers clearly having the desire to watch him as much as possible, the urge to take a hiatus from coaching is definitely there. However, he knows what a good thing he has in Boston and told 98.5 The Sports Hub it would be tough to leave.
“I can say I have given that zero thought. I know it’s going to be a conversation and I understand that, but I really don’t. I’m flying to Chicago to watch my son play and I will fly back to San Antonio late tonight and that’s what I have done all year.

I think it’s my responsibility as a parent to do that and I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to do I really don’t. This place is the best. Working with Danny Ainge, Wyc (Grousbeck) and that group, I can’t get a better group. It would be very difficult for me to ever leave this situation.”
Obviously Rivers doesn't really want to think too much about his future with the current season about to really rev up with the postseason. But it's hard not to. If you watched the McDonald's All-American game you saw Rivers in the stands watching his son play. He's done that all year, flying back and forth on off days to catch every game he can.

I honestly salute Rivers for it. He's a dad first, coach second. He knows his responsibilities to the Celtics, but his first and most important job is being a father. And he knows it. That's really admirable to me.

Rivers isn't old (just 49) and if he decides to step away from the Celtics that doesn't mean his coaching career is over. Most likely so with the Celtics, but once Austin decides to take his game back to the pros, Rivers might come back. And with Austin's ability, that could just be a year.

Via Sports Radio Interviews
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 31, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 11:25 pm

Celtics C Nenad Krstic (knee) to undergo MRI

Boston Celtics center Nenad Krstic injured his right knee against the San Antonio Spurs. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Update: After the game, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that center Nenad Krstic will return to Boston where he will undergo an MRI on his right knee on Saturday according to NESN.com. Krstic will miss this weekend's game: the Celtics play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Original Post: With a little more than two minutes remaining in the second quarter of a Thursday night game against the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics center Nenad Krstic suffered what the team called a "right knee injury." 

The injury occurred when Krstic cut to the basket during a Ray Allen shot attempt and his knee buckled. He was immediately escorted from the court by Boston's training staff. Shortly thereafter, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that the injury "doesn't look good" and the team confirmed Krstic would not return to Thursday's game.

Here's a look at the play.

Krstic was acquired along with forward Jeff Green from the Thunder in a pre-deadline trade that sent center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City. Krstic is averaging 9.9 points and 5.9 assists in 17 games since the trade, as the Celtics have relied on him to fill in a fair share of minutes due to the absences of Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal. Should he miss significant time, Boston's thin already thin and often undersized frontline will be stretched that much further.

Updates as soon as they become available.
Posted on: March 31, 2011 2:36 pm

Doc Rivers hopes to get Shaq before the playoffs

Posted by Royce Young

First, it was April 1 for Shaquille O'Neal to return. Well, that's today and he's not playing.

Next it was possibly April 5. Still a chance of that, by the way Doc Rivers sounded speaking to CSN New England, the Celtics are just hoping he ca be back for the playoffs.

“I really hope we can get him before the playoffs,” said Rivers, who added that the injury is starting to “get close to bleeding” into the teams’ postseason plans.

While the C’s maintain there hasn’t been any setback, they do say it has taken longer to heal than anticipated (isn’t that a setback?)….

“The good thing with him is that he’s still big and strong,” Rivers said. “But that (not playing until the playoffs) would be difficult.”

Maybe we all got our O'Neals confused. Jermaine is set to return soon, so maybe people just got it all messed up. But this isn't encouraging news for the Celtics who desperately need a paint presence right now. Hoping for a playoff return doesn't exactly sound all that great. Shaq's achilles has kept him out for almost 25 games now and if he doesn't return until the playoffs, he won't have played in almost two months.

For a 39-year-old that isn't light on his feet, I would assume some rust and conditioning issues could pop up. Not exactly something you want starting the playoffs off with.

At some point, Shaq will play again for the Celtics. But right now, each time it sounds like he has a return date, it gets pushed back. The Celtics say there hasn't been a setback, but if not, why is it taking so long? The original timetable had him back in late March and now maybe he'll be back by mid-April? For Boston who is slipping after trading a championship tested center in Kendrick Perkins, this type of information surely isn't comforting.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:58 am

Jermaine O'Neal says he's ready to go

Posted by Royce Young

The Celtics are already anticipating getting one O'Neal back in the next week or so. But it sounds like they might have both available soon.

Jermaine O'Neal told the Boston Herald Monday that he wants to play as early as Thursday against the Spurs.

"I'm ready to go," O'Neal said. "It's been about a year, since I left Miami, that I haven't had any limitations. It hasn't been this year, for sure. I can't wait to get back in the mix. If we had a practice (Sunday), I would have tried to go (last night). Now I have to get up to speed with the new plays and the new guys. The speed of the game is what I'm worried about, but my body I'm not worried about."

Doc Rivers pumped the breaks on that a little saying he doubts O'Neal will play Thursday.

"That's just so quick," he said. "We get back and have one more practice, and just being around the team with the little walkthroughs will help him. The only way I see something happening is if we have another injury. But I doubt I would do it."

Rivers did the same thing with talk of Shaq coming back April 1. What you're probably noticing here is a theme. Rivers obviously doesn't care too much about rushing either back for a couple games in early April. His concern is late April. Then May. And then hopefully June. He needs his two fragile, old big men to be ready and healthy for the postseason.

O'Neal has been out since January with a knee injury that required surgery and while the Celtics could use him right now, once Shaq returns, ironically the thin Boston front line will likely be crowded. Between Nenad Krstic, Shaq and Glen Davis, minutes won't be all that available.

But having an extra big man like O'Neal is never a bad thing, especially when Shaq may or may not be totally healthy. The playoffs are going to wear on the older guys of the Celtics and they are already hurting inside without much size. So he'll definitely be a welcomed piece of the puzzle when he returns.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com