Tag Archives: Doc Rivers

Maybe We’ll Be OK

It’s 2013, or so the calendar tells us. Yet when we read news of North Korea’s supposedly impending nuclear attack, the turtle-paced recovery of the economy, the continued legislation of love, or even racially segregated proms, it feels like we’re either stuck in the 1940’s or thrust forward to the end of days. The negative always seems to outweigh the positive.  Our faith in humanity slowly diminishes. It’s always darkest before the dawn, but it’s been dark for so long we wonder if dawn is really a thing of myth.  

Then there are days, moments, even, that let the light of dawn peek through, showing us we’re perhaps not as doomed as we’ve been told. Moments like today.

Jason Collins, in a piece published in Sports Illustrated, announced he was gay, becoming the first active male professional athlete in a major sport in the United States to do so.  A thorough string of qualifiers, to be sure, but ones that enhance, rather than diminish, the magnitude of Collins’ announcement. No, announcement isn’t the right word. Collins and his agent didn’t organize a press conference wherein he read from a statement then took questions from the media. He wrote a frank, honest, and beautiful article, describing his struggle with hiding his true self for so long and his decision to no longer do so. To do such a thing, in such a prominent publication, transcends bravery or courage.

For basketball, and sports overall, this announcement was a long time coming. Other athletes who came out, such as John Amaechi, Robbie Rogers, even as far back as Martina Navratilova helped paved the road for Collins. So too did straight athletes like Brendon Ayanbandejo and Chris Kluwe, outspoken proponents of both gay marriage and acceptance of homosexuals in professional sports. Collins now becomes the first active athlete to come out, and becomes perhaps the biggest fissure in the wall of intolerance in sports.

Further piercing that shroud of despair was the groundswell of support from Collins’ peers following the publication of Collins’ article. Statements from Doc Rivers, David Stern, or even Bill Clinton were encouraging, of course, but their support was never in question, nor was it the most important. The reaction of players, former and current, would be a telling sign as to whether Collins’ world was and is ready for such an announcement. And, in one of those too-rare moments, our faith in humanity was restored just a bit.

Some, such as Kobe Bryant and Baron Davis, praised Collins for his bravery.

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Others, like Kevin Durant, though not effusive in his praise, nonetheless supported Collins, citing the brotherhood of basketball and (at least to Durant) the acceptance that comes with the inclusion in said brotherhood.

“Nobody has any right to judge. He’s his own man. Makes his own decisions. As NBA players, it’s like a big group of guys, kind of like a brotherhood. I know I support him. Like I said, I don’t really know him, so whatever decision he makes is something he really thought was good for him. Nothing nobody else can about him. As long as he’s happy, it’s cool.”

 

Overall, the majority of player’s reactions showed that the world of sports is slowly starting to catch up to society. Maybe it will be some time before another player, a more prominent player comes out, but at least Collins has laid the groundwork for that day.

Unfortunately, though predictably, the day was not without hatred. Intolerance, ignorance and animosity all reared their heads after the story was published. And yet, despite the pure hideousness of these comments, they are, in a way, a necessity.

Screenwriter Stewart Stern, in a letter to James Dean’s parents after the actor’s death, wrote, “Ecstasy is only recognizable when one has experienced pain. Beauty only exists when set against ugliness. Peace is not appreciated without war ahead of it. How we wish that life could support only the good. But it vanishes when its opposite no longer exists as a setting.”

Life cannot exist without Death, and Love cannot exist without Hate. That does not mean, however, that the two are equal. So while the ignorant filth will continue to comment, tweet and spew venomous hatred, they are closer to being drowned out than ever before. And though they do still cause us to shake our heads and bemoan the stupidity of some, those hateful words have value, in that they allow us to better appreciate those of love and support.

 

SHOT FICTION: Ray Allen’s Last Shot?

We’re a little worried about this lockout. We want basketball. But in case we don’t get basketball, we’re going to give ourselves a season.

The following is a work of fiction and no one was harmed in the writing of this story. These works will be based on how we think the 2011-12 season would play out if the lockout ended and the NBA is able to play all 82 games. Every other week, we will have a fictional work until the lockout is over. This is the first. The heart believes it will be a singular work and the NBA will be back in business soon. The head, sadly, realizes that it may not be the case.

BOSTON, June 1, 2012 — Ray Allen sat at his locker with a thin towel draped over his shoulders and another wrapped tight around his still-slim waist, a waist that hasn’t gained an inch over Allen’s professional career. His feet were in Jordan brand sandals, his toes separated by pieces of foam cut to fit. Allen said he learned the trick early in his career from a vet on his first team, the Milwaukee Bucks. The foam prevented the toes from sliding and smashing into the toecap and helped minimize bruising and torn toenails. Combine that with regular pedicures the he received to prevent ingrown toenails and Allen’s feet — the base from which he made an all-time NBA record of 2,703 three-pointers — looked as if they could carry him for another 16 seasons.

The scoresheet from the Celtics’ epic 99-98 Game 7 overtime loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals lay between Allen’s pristine feet. The rest of him looked spent. He had just played 51 of the game’s 53 minutes. If he saw his line, it read like this:

M: 51; FG: 13; FGA 19; 3P: 7; 3PA: 11 FT: 6; FTA: 6 REB: 3; AST: 3; BLK: 0; STL: 1; TO: 3; PTS: 39

The 39 points were the most he scored all season, regular or post. The 51 minutes were easily the most. Allen, a free agent, had no reason to hang his head in what had been his best game of this unusual season.

Yet there it hung and his shoulders sagged. Allen’s elbows rested on his knees and his fingers dangled like branches from a weeping willow. The Celtics locker room was quiet and reporters, who had just been informed that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce would be the only Celtics to go to the podium, milled about waiting for that precious eye contact from a player, a signal that he was ready to open up or spout cliches.

Most of the reporters had turned away from Allen. They knew that he never spoke to them just after the locker room opened. In fact, it was rare to see Allen there at that time at all. By the time reporters entered after the cooling off period, Allen was gone to treatment, then the showers. If the local scribes did catch a glimpse of him, it was fleeting, like an apparition. When Allen did emerge from the players’ sanctuary, he strode to his locker in a bespoke suit, put a couple things down, usually the book he was reading and a DVD of the Celtics’ next opponent, and then turned around to face the media.

But in the silence that suffocates a space after a devastating defeat, there was what sounded like a sharp sob coming from the direction of Allen’s locker. Then another. Any murmuring between reporters ceased and their heads turned in Allen’s direction. Allen’s shoulders heaved once, then again. He pinched the bridge of his nose with his right hand and made a small circular motion. There was another sharp sound. The seasoned Boston scribes stood in stunned silence. None of them had ever seen this.

If Allen were upset, it would be understandable. It was the worst season of his 16 year, soon-to-be Hall of Fame career. He missed 41 games after the Pacers’ Danny Granger tripped trailing Allen on a screen and rolled into Allen’s right knee in a game on Jan. 6. Allen feverishly worked his way back from arthroscopic surgery. He was ready to return at the end of February, but suffered a setback as doctors had to go back in for a second surgery.

When Allen finally returned against Utah in late March, he came off the bench for the first time in his career. He couldn’t get his timing and his sturdy legs, which propelled him around picks and provided the springboard for the smoothest jumper in NBA history, were now shaky. So was Allen’s confidence.

“I’m working hard to get my rhythm back,” Allen told the Boston Globe in April. “My knee isn’t responding as I hoped it would. Your legs are so important to your shot.”

Throughout his career, Allen’s work ethic had been well chronicled, almost fetishized by the media. They noted how he arrived at the arena at the same time, ate at the same time and went through his pregame routine at the same time every game day. As a military brat, Allen knew routine as discipline and discipline as order. If there was order in his life, Allen knew success, built on a solid foundation of meticulous work, would follow. It did. He won a Big East tournament title at UConn, won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2000 Sydney games, made 10 All-Star appearances for three different franchises and played Jesus in a Spike Lee movie.

Then there was the crowning achievement in his career, the NBA title he helped the Celtics win in 2008. He had come close to the Finals with the Bucks in 2001 and nowhere near them with the Sonics. An alpha dog in Seattle, Allen subjugated his game to blend in with Pierce and Garnett. The result: the C’s 17th NBA title.

But as Allen struggled in his comeback, Yahoo! reported a Celtics source as saying they weren’t going to re-sign Allen, who wanted a two-year extension with the same player option he had when he re-signed for two seasons in 2010. The source noted Allen would be nearly 39 when the extension ended and that it would be in the C’s best interest to seek a younger option at two guard. Combined with the physical ailments, Allen’s world, which he had so diligently worked to put in order, was now out of whack. For the first time in his career, Allen was coming off the bench, a move Celtics coach Doc Rivers said was necessary to limit the guard’s minutes. Allen averaged 12.6 points per game and shot .332 from three-point range, both career lows for a shooter, who, if his jumper could sing, it would sound like Marvin Gaye.

Allen and that melodious jumper re-emerged in the postseason. He averaged 19.4 points in the first round against the franchise for whom he first played, the Bucks. Against Orlando in the second round, he shot a scintillating .435 from three-point range. In the East finals, Allen averaged 24.3 for the first six games running Dwyane Wade, who missed 26 games this year with shoulder problems, through a series of screens designed to bang Wade around.

Then came Game 7 and that overtime and those 39 points, the final three of which gave the C’s an 98-96 lead with 3.4 seconds left in OT. Allen was back. The Celtics were on the precipice of their third Finals appearance in five seasons before Mario Chalmers, the Heat’s fourth option, found himself open for a short-corner three right in front of the C’s bench. Swish.

And now, Allen sat at his locker after what was more than likely his last game as a Boston Celtic and he was … crying? Allen let go of his nose, stood and reached for something in his locker, his back to the reporters. When he turned to head to the showers, Allen instantly noted the sympathetic looks on the reporters’ faces and frowned.

“Hiccups,” Allen said in his flat baritone, his eyes dry and jaw set. “Pinch your nose, hold your breath, close your eyes tight and count to 20. Works every time.”

Now, some reporters looked incredulous.

“You all thought I was crying?” Allen said, neither his expression nor his tone changing. “You know me better than that.”

They did. They knew he’d be back in about 15 minutes, freshly showered, freshly dressed, prepared to answer questions for however long it took to ask them. The reporters would pepper him about the game (“Hell of a game. I thought we had it, we just got caught looking at LeBron and Wade.”), quiz him about his knee (“It’s a little sore, but I’m 37. Everything is sore.”) and query him about his future (“I’d love to be here. Celtics green is the best green I’ve worn in my career. It’s where I won a title. It’s important.”)

With that, Allen paused and pinched his fingers to his nose again. A reporter tried levity.

“Hiccups?”

Allen smirked.

“You could say that,” Allen said. “This whole season has been one.”

He looked over the reporters as if to say, “anything else.” One reporter stepped forward to say good luck and thanks. Allen and the man exchanged pleasantries. Allen then grabbed his book — “Collapse” by Jared Diamond — and his coat. He started to walk out of the locker room with the confidence some mistook for arrogance.

“Yep,” Allen said to no one in particular, “a hiccup. Can’t go out like that.”

With that, Ray Allen, turned, smiled and was gone.

No Championship for Old Men

Power — intoxicating and addictive — is never easily ceded. Not by nations and rarely by champions. It has to be taken. In sports, it’s often taken from the aging or the infirm. In the case of the Boston Celtics, it was both.

If you took one look at the Celtics sideline late on Wednesday night, you would have seen Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O’Neal lying on their aching backs, straining their necks to see the action on the floor. You would have seen Kevin Garnett expending the same amount of energy to do half the things he used to do. Shaquille O’Neal, the future Hall of Famer the Celtics signed to combat the Lakers in The Finals, spent what may be his final NBA game as the largest Big & Tall model in history. And as good as Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are younger and have more talent.

The Celtics wanted to play, but their bodies betrayed them. Their time has ended. The Lakers too. Three days prior to LeBron and the Heat ending the Celtics’ successful four-year run in the East, the “new old” Mavs — an oxymoron — swept Phil Jackson and the two-time defending champion Lakers, playing like schoolyard chumps, into next season.

If the Celtics or Lakers had forced their series to seven games, we may be able to believe Doc Rivers’ claim that his Celtics team “isn’t done” or Kobe Bryant’s claim that the Lakers will be back as a legit championship force in 2011-12.

But the Heat and the Mavs channeled their inner Anton Chigurh and used their captive bolt pistols to blow a big hole through any notion that the Celtics and the Lakers can remain at a championship level beyond this season. It’s not necessarily age itself, but the changes that come with it. They are like Tommy Lee Jones’ sheriff, who chases the light in his dreams but eventually wakes up before he can catch up to it. Those days are history. Things are different now.

If the Lakers couldn’t set aside their trust issues during the postseason, what makes anyone think that they’ll grow fonder of each other over an 82-game regular season? If the Lakers couldn’t get Phil his fourth three-peat, who thinks they’ll be able to band together for a new coach? Do you think the Celtics’ core will somehow grow any younger over the summer? As much as I like to believe Rivers, one of my favorite basketball people of all time, will return to Boston because he’s “a Celtic,” there have been rumblings for some time about him wanting to take a break. Changes should be coming to both teams.

But based on the history of those two franchises, you’d be inclined to believe they will bounce back. Between them they have 33 NBA championships and 52 combined Finals appearances. Based on what we saw of the two teams, it’s hard to believe that they will be able to dominate foes as they have the past four seasons. The NBA has too much talent on too many different teams. Not only that, that talent is in or close to reaching its prime.

For only the fifth time when both teams have made the postseason in the same year, neither the Lakers nor the Celtics made their respective conference finals series. By not having these specific Celtics or Lakers teams to cheer or jeer in a conference finals is slams shut the door on the post-Michael Jordan era of the NBA.

This will be the first Finals without Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan since 1998. It’s as clear a demarcation point in NBA history as the introduction of the shot clock in 1954 or Bill Russell retiring in 1969 or when Jordan and a hungry Bulls team destroyed an aging Lakers team in 1991.

Consider, too, the men who led them. It will be the first time since 1995 Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley won’t roam the sidelines during The Finals. Though, that stat deserves an asterisk considering Riley is the brains behind this current iteration of the Heat. He has the hardware to prove it.

Riley built the Heat in the Celtics’ image using the lure of a homegrown star to attract other stars. LeBron said as much before and after Game 5. Beating the Celtics was the reason he burned every bridge in Cleveland. For LBJ, getting past the Celtics was like MJ finally getting past the Pistons in ’91.

For LeBron, who at times has a loathsome lack of self-awareness, sounded contrite and humble after the Heat’s win. Whether his overall attitude has changed for the better remains to be seen. But one thing we know: the NBA will never be the same. It’s up to the new power generation to shape it to their liking.

NBA Finals Lakers Celtics Game 7: A Legacy Equinox

There’s no more basketball after tonight. Not for five months, anyway. So you’d better enjoy this.

These are the two best teams, according to the metric we use to determine that value (most wins from mid-April through June). So you’d better enjoy this.

This is a Game 7, so you’d better enjoy it.

I’m not simply being a promoter for my favorite sport when I say that NBA Game 7′s are entirely different from the other sports that entertain series. In baseball, there are specific moments that live forever, and certainly memorable pitching performances. A key hit. Things of that nature. And in hockey, there’s certainly the propensity given the scoring nature of the game for moments of unequaled tension and intensity. But basketball more than any other sport holds the potential for individual players to exert their will on a game. It’s where greatness often meets greatness, especially for these two franchises. It’s everything we love about sports. That’s cliche, but then again, so is this series.

Take a look at the list of best Finals performances in a loss from Basketball Reference.  That list is crushing to me, because of so many players that never won a ring, and to have those performances on the biggest stage. One really stuck out to me. Stockton with 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting, 12 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. In a loss. That set the tone for the rest of the series. I just can’t imagine having gotten to the top, put in that kind of performance, and coming up short. Anyway, take that list and sort it. 5 of the top 25 point totals in a loss in the Finals on that list are from LA-Boston ’08 and LA-Boston ’10.  20% of the top 25 Finals performances that ended up not mattering came between these two teams. Individual greatness isn’t good enough. The whole damn roster has to chip in, AND you have to have quality star performances.

Wishing for a truly great game seems like a risk to me. These playoffs have been dreadful, outside of a handful of moments, and in general have been leading us down a path of fulfillment wrapped in bitterness. We got Lakers Celtics, at the price of a full blown LeBron meltdown and the Suns’ effort and heart being for naught. But there’s always that hope. That last, fleeting hope that this will be one of those games. The kind you remember for the rest of your life. It has to be to make a mark. You see, either way, this championship doesn’t mean much independently. I’m not trying to be a buzzkill, but if you were ask Bill Simmons of his most memorable Celtics championship games, would this one crack the top five? Even more modern-focused Celtic fans would probably list that Game 6 in 2008 as the defining one for them. It’s a product of what happens when you have 32 championships between you. But a special game could overcome all that. If it features both of these teams, at their best, which we really haven’t seen yet, it could become one of those things that’s talked about for years. Where you remember where you were, who you were with, how it felt.

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This isn’t to say that the game has no meaning to its players. Instead, it’s crucial. While #5 for Bryant isn’t as important as #6, #4, or #1 (or really #3), he obviously can’t get to six without it. It’s a separation from Shaq, and stabbing Boston in the throat hold special value as well. The second one puts Gasol in rarefied air, and if he’s going to wind up in the Hall, he’ll need this one and one more. For Odom, it’s going to cement his place in the Laker’s sub-pantheon. One contributing headcase is a footnote, but doing it on multiple championship teams gives him a place in the team’s history. He’ll never be top billing, but he’ll have a place. Phil Jackson blah, blah, blah. Derek Fisher’s an especially relevant component. Five championships, and he may not return next season, depending on how much Phil buys into his ability to stave off the ghosts of time for another year. He’s going to have a very rough next year and a half of his life, with the CBA deal approaching, and this is a moment he should take to cherish, when basketball was all that mattered and he was the starting point guard for a championship team. Crazy Pills? Gets to flip his detractors a middle finger with a ring on it, and redeems himself of all the strikes against him, in his mind. Adam Morrison gets something else he can sell when he’s destitute and living in a refrigerator box in ten years.

For Pierce? He’ll never be in with the 80′s crew. But this puts him in his own level below it. The favorite son, and past the concerns of just being a flash in the pan. Garnett and Allen join the ranks of the multiple winners. A single title gets you in the door and gets you a place among your own time’s peers. A second win puts you into a tier with the all-time great champions. I’m not sure why, I’m just told it does. If the first one is for you, to validate your career to yourself, the second is to validate it to all the greats who flash multiple rings. For Glen Davis? The opportunity of a lifetime. To cement a legacy within the first few years of your career, collect rings, and then ride off into money-soaked sunset, always able to say “I know what it takes to win a championship.” Rondo puts himself on pace for a more-talented Sam Cassell trajectory, with two championships early in his career and nothing but upside. A chance to give back to the guys that helped mentor him into a position to be elite at this level.

Doc Rivers may have the most to gain from this game. If he decides to walk away for his family, this game puts him as the only multiple ring Boston championship coach from outside of Red’s tree. He can walk away as one of the few coaches with multiple rings, having gone from one of the worst-regarded coaches in the league (2007) to one of the best.

Legacies have a steeper climb since the 80′s. That’s the mark you’re set at. Kobe’s got it worse, having to climb not only the 80′s Showtime crew, but Mount Jordan as well. It’s started to strike me as absurd, how often we use “He’s no Jordan!” as some kind of detractor. The man’s on the verge of winning his fifth championship ring within a decade, with Ron Artest and Derek Fisher as two of his starters.

If legacies have become liquid, never cementing until they reach their hottest temperature, then nothing solidifies tonight. But it’s a vital part of the story for all careers involved, and with no tomorrow, literally, in the 2009-2010 NBA Season, you have to believe anything can happen.
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LA is winning this game. I got out of my car this morning and realized it. I tend to have either no sense whatsoever about an important game, or a very strong one. Which isn’t to say these feelings are at all accurate. I’m usually more accurate when I have a strong emotional reaction to the game. I woke up in January of 2004 and knew, absolutely, in my heart of hearts, that the Chiefs, despite their best season in over a decade, were going to lose to the Colts. It was arguably the most important game of my life after the age of 12 and I knew, 100%, we would lose. It wasn’t brought on by masochism or negativity, I was just sure of it. I knew the Suns were going to lose Game 6 versus San Antonio in 2007. That said, I don’t really care about this game. A self-aggrandizing, self-entitled, pampered franchise will win tonight, and a self-aggrandizing, self-entitled, pampered franchise will lose tonight. As I said, it’s another in a long line of titles. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great theater, and I’ve really enjoyed these Finals. While we haven’t seen both teams at their best in a game so far, we have seen some entertaining basketball.  It’s best for the sport, best for the league, best for the fans when these two franchises meet and it goes seven. I’m merely saying that while I feel very strongly LA will win, I don’t have any emotional attachment to that prediction.

But LA is winning. Perkins’ injury is one of those things that pierces the chest plate and gets to the ventricles. Davis is a terrific bench player but probably not adept at stopping the starting line. Pierce has been terrific, but if the Lakers’ help defense has its head out of its ass, you can cut off the places Pierce wants to go and he’ll force it. Ron Artest will probably hit a few big shots and disappoint in terms of being the wacky true self he’s been for three games in this series.

I told a colleague the other day that basketball, for all its complexity and motion, all its strategy and reactions, is still largely vulnerable to the simple physical attributes of its players. The Lakers are tall. And that’s why they’ll win. I can give you talk about their transition defense, or their inside-out work, about how the overload defense won’t allow for cross-court passes to Allen or Sheed, about Kobe’s drive-and-post work, or Odom’s righty move against Davis forcing him left. But at the end of it? The Lakers are tall. And tall guys win at basketball.

Analysis.

Enjoy Game 7, everyone.

But Seriously, He Handles The Rotation Like An Artist. For Real.

The C’s play their starters together more than any team in the league. After 22 games (so not including the Bulls game on Saturday night), the C’s starters had played 468.48 minutes together. No five-man group in the league has played more. And No. 2 on the list—the Grizzlies starting five (415.65)—is probably the most overworked starting unit in the league. The Grizzlies four core starters (Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo and Zach Randolph) are all playing more minutes per game than any Celtic.

Do the math, and that 468.48 minutes works out to about 21 minutes per game, meaning the C’s starters are on pace to spend about 1,744 minutes together on the floor this season.

And that, my friends, is a ton of minutes for one unit to play together. Last season, the most-used line-up in the NBA played just 981.32 minutes—a bit more than half the minutes the C’s starters are on pace to play together this season.

Oh, you want to know which unit led the league with 981.32 minutes together last season?

via Where Does the C’s Starting Five Rank? » Boston Celtics Basketball – Celtics news, rumors and analysis – CelticsHub.com.

Now, the point is not that Doc’s overworking the Celtics, far from it. They play a nice distribution of minutes, dont’ get too overworked, and get their rest in. But the issue is that Doc doesn’t handle a rotation. He just relies on his starters to get the job done. I mean, essentially, the backup units are only used to try and tread water. While that’s true for a majority of teams, the level to which it’s true for the Celtics is interesting.

In the playoffs, rotations get shortened and fewer players play. So that works to the Celtics’ advantage. But not being able to exploit different strengths of different lineups can be a challenge, and that’s before you get to the requisite rest concerns. So watching as the Celtics’ entire world hinges on Doc playing his veterans that don’t really need him the most minutes in the NBA is in itself notable. The Celtics have the highest point differential in the NBA. But if the Lakers are up 20+ in the fourth, they send in the garbage squad, watch Shannon Brown dunk, and their lead dwindle slightly, adjusting if the other team dares make a run. The Celtics just keep pushing, because they don’t know what else to do.

Doc Rivers Is Not A Tyrant. He’s A Cheerleader.

He’s not a tryant. He’s willing to listen. I love the stories in today’s papers about the final play in OT. Via the Herald:

“Well, I drew up a play and Paul says, ‘Coach, no, let’s not run that play,’ ” said Rivers. “He said, ‘Either I’m going to get to the basket or Kevin’s going to get a shot.’

“Sometimes a coach is a good listener, and on that one I was. Honestly Paul called that. I had a completely different play. It was a good thing because he saw it. And Kevin needed that shot. It was great. Kevin had shots all night; he just couldn’t make them. So it was great for him to make the shot.”

via An Underrated Thing About Doc » Boston Celtics Basketball – Celtics news, rumors and analysis – CelticsHub.com.

You notice how whenever there’s a huge moment for the Celtics, it’s the big three making the decisions? And whenever Doc winds up in the reins it results in either a low percentage shot or a fail? Yeah.

I actually really want to read the Doc Rivers biography when it comes out in ten years.  Because it’s clear that he does things that really garner the respect of knowledgeable basketball people. My problem is that I look at this team and it was the Titanic before the Big 3 summer, and then in 07-08 it was ran by the Big 3, and it continues to be ran by the Big 3. Boston fans point to him being a great motivator.

Does it look like Kevin Garnett needs motivation? Is Paul Pierce really lacking drive? Has Rondo stopped being a punk, or is he just an allowable unstable element?

If I need a campaign slogan, I’m going to Doc. If I need points or a stop, I’m going elsewhere. Help me out here, commenters. Is he a good all-around coach?

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

“I got on him, and I rarely do, about the threes,’’ Rivers said of Wallace. “Because even though he was wide open, it’s really tough (emphasis mine-MM). I mean, he was wide open and he took two, but we had just taken two quick ones.”

via Doc to Sheed: Cut the 3s » Boston Celtics Basketball – Celtics news, rumors and analysis – CelticsHub.com.

No, it’s not tough. You do not tell a former All-Star 34% three point shooter not to take open shots. Not Rasheed Wallace. You knew this when you brought him in!

CelticsHub makes the point that he’s got to shoot a higher percentage or not take them, especially the guarded ones, and that’s fine. It’s not going to happen, since, you know, it’s Sheed (have you not being paying attention to everyone who said “Well, he’ll be good, but I mean, he’ll shoot. He’s Sheed!” Did you really not hear that for all the parade planning?).  But telling him NOT to shoot open threes? That’s like telling Ricky Davis not to take contested ones.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Mike Woodson’s Getting It Gleefully

I have not liked Mike Woodson the whole time he has been coach. Through five years, I have only begrudgingly given him props for not screwing up. Even now, he is the last main cog for me to give my trust to. Still, with that baggage of disdain still dragging behind me, I read quotes like this one and cannot help but feel that weird feeling in the pit of your stomach I believe most people call “respect.”

via Quotes, links, and thoughts bursting with unknown feelings. – Peachtree Hoops.

This year for Mike Woodson so far is like seeing your cousin who dropped out of high school get a really good job and get his or her life back on track. You doubted them the entire way and you feel like kind of a jerk, but you’re also really happy because he/she had a lot of bad things happen to them.

Atlanta fans, something to consider.

Three years ago, every Boston Celtics fan would tell you that Doc Rivers was one of the worst coaches in the league, the biggest problem they had an a gigantic bum. Now they will lay down in the street for him.

Also, two years ago, Mike Brown was considered an absolutely wretched coach and last year was coach of the year (start the countdown to him getting fired).

The gap between the two is not that wide, and Mike Woodson has had less to work with than either of them, in a bad ownership situation with constant talk of him being fired. There’s lots about Woodson’s job I don’t think has been great. But the way he’s handled it has been downright inspiring. He’s like the anti-Don Nelson.