Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett Say Celtics Are Rajon Rondo’s Team

Breaking news: the Celtics look old. Actually, they don’t just look old — they are old. Keep in mind that this is a team that no longer cares about proving itself in the regular season. For the past few years, Boston has coasted through the regular season and picked up the tempo come playoff time. A lot of veteran teams do the same thing. Still, it is tough to ignore their flaws.  Boston is 4-5, has had trouble stopping good offenses, and has struggled to score against poor teams.  Aside from Rajon Rondo, consistent play has been lacking.  That is why both Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett realize the team now belongs to Rondo.

“This is his team right now,” Rivers said Wednesday after the Celtics lost to the Mavericks, according to CSNNE.com. “Rondo’s just playing terrific. And we’ve got to allow him to be terrific. We shouldn’t get in his way.”

“Rajon is amazing, period,” Garnett added. “You talk about big things are coming; big things are here. Rajon is keeping us alive every night. We just have to make sure we follow his lead, and follow his effort, and we’re going to turn this thing around.”

Rondo scored 24 points and dished out seven assists, but the rest of the team — particularly the Big Three — looked flat.  With the exception of maybe Ray Allen, Rondo is the only player who has showed up every night.  We wondered a couple of weeks ago if his play would be enough to carry the Celtics, and it looks like Rivers and the rest of the team are counting on that being the case.  If you ask Jason Terry, Rondo is the only one playing with energy.

At this point, Boston is in desperate need of youth.  Rondo can provide some of that, but if the Celtics start showing their age more and more as the season progresses it will hardly be enough.  Rondo is no longer a guy who has become an All-Star because of who he is playing alongside.  Instead, he is Boston’s pulse.

Kevin Garnett: I Need to Drug Test Our Coach

The Boston Celtics swept the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs and coach Doc Rivers was acting pretty giddy afterwards. It was an uncomfortable sight for Kevin Garnett who joked to Lisa Salters afterwards that maybe a drug test was needed. Check out this hilarious video clip courtesy of Ben Golliver:

That interview was pretty darn funny, but it’s actually pretty tame for Garnett if you compare it to this and this. Keep in mind Doc, the road only gets tougher. It’s not time to celebrate yet.

Doc Rivers Next in Line to Coach Miami Heat Big Three?

Doc Rivers has been the beneficiary of unmatched talent over the past few years, and it’s probably resulted in people thinking he’s a much better coach than he actually is.  That’s not to take anything away from Doc.  He’s the ultimate motivator and the definition of a player’s coach.  He’s a rare specimen in that he can take a group of enormous egos and talents and get them to buy into the concept of a team.  That’s exactly why Pat Riley is reportedly said to have his eye on Rivers if Erik Spoelstra can’t get the job done with the Miami Heat.

Does anyone else feel that it’s going to be nearly impossible for Spoelstra to keep his job?  If the upcoming Heat season ends with anything less than an NBA championship, he’s gone.  I get the impression that they didn’t want him to be there to begin with, but they couldn’t just replace him without giving him a shot with a revamped roster.  If he coaches them to a title, Spoelstra will keep his job.  If he doesn’t, Riley will look elsewhere.

Whether he’s one of the better coaches in the NBA or not, Doc Rivers would probably be a smart choice.  Granted, it would be tough to not be extremely successful with a roster core of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.  The thing that Doc does so well is check egos.  With all the star power that he’s coached over the last three years in Boston, he’s never seemed to let his locker room get away from him.  That in itself makes Rivers worth hiring.

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Doc Rivers Knocked Shaq Down a Few Pegs Before He Signed

Shaquille O’Neal may have an ego that’s as big as his 325-pound frame and he may think more highly of his career than Jim Rome does, but he obviously appreciates a coach who is willing to be a straight shooter.  According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Shaq was given an opporunity to meet such a coach when he sat down for a meeting with Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers prior to signing his deal.  Instead of tooting his horn or buttering his biscuit or whichever cliche you’d like to use to describe a coach stroking a free agent’s ego, Doc took a no-b.s. approach with the 18-year veteran when Shaq visited his home last month:

He told O’Neal he may not start. He told O’Neal his skills had declined, so touches won’t be a priority. He told O’Neal he was a liability on pick-and-roll defense. O’Neal sat there with a blank expression, and Rivers thought there was no chance of a deal getting done. There was no way O’Neal would accept that type of criticism and accept a minimum salary as well.”

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Doc Rivers is Staying: What it Means

Less than 24 hours after Paul Pierce‘s agent announced he would opt out of the final year of his contract with the Boston Celtics, word is surfacing that head coach Doc Rivers will return to the team and, at the very least, finish out his current contract.  For those of you who are interested in the Celtics and wondering what this means for their off-season plans, the answer is a lot.

The fact that Doc has chosen to return probably answers most of the questions that Boston had after the playoffs ended and is an indication that they plan on keeping their core in tact for at least another year.  Rivers has at times been given a bit too much credit as a coach when you consider the roster he was handed a few years ago, but there’s something to be said for being a players’ coach that a team responds to.  Let’s go over a few implications that the return of Rivers has for the reigning Eastern Conference champs.

1. Paul Pierce’s opt out doesn’t mean he’s leaving Boston.

The reason players have been opting out of the final years of their deals, regardless of where they want to play, has to do with the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.  The current CBA will expire after next season and it’s pretty much a certainty at this point that it will result in the league’s top players making less money.  The ceiling for a maximum contract players can sign is going to be lowered, therefore players are opting out (when able to) and seeking a long-term deal under the current CBA rather than waiting until next off-season.

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Mark Cuban Slaps Doc Rivers on the Ass Following Ejection

Good ole Mark Cuban. Are there no limits to his enthusiasm? Sometimes he gets carried away — just like he did late in the 3rd quarter of Thursday night’s game when Celtics coach Doc Rivers was ejected following a stream of fouls called on Kevin Garnett. Cubes, who is no stranger to on-court confrontations, expressed his condolences in the only way he knew how:

Reminds me a lot of the Percy Harvin/Urban Meyer ass slap, though this was amongst opponents. Luckily for Doc, his team got the last laugh. At least Cubes got a nice handful in. And the picture doesn’t actually do justice to how hard the slap was — it was a total “attaboy” slap!

All of a Sudden Doc Rivers Is a Genius

I love how this stuff works sometimes. Last year Doc Rivers was the guy who deserved to be canned after his team did the nosedive into last place like they had a two-ton anchor attached to them. You even had guys like Ryan Gomes all but admitting they were tanking. Many people were calling for Doc’s head — it was nuts. The guy had no players, especially when you consider his big gun, the Finals MVP, Paul Pierce, was hurt. But all those sicko results-oriented freaks just look at the bottom line and say the team was the worst in the league so the coach deserves to be gone. I can’t tell you which people did 180s from saying he should be fired to praising the guy, but I can tell you I didn’t jump on Doc as a poor coach, giving him leeway because he had no players.

Now, in ’07-’08, he gets KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce comes back healthy, and all of a sudden it’s a different story. Basketball, because it’s only a five player game and because it’s easy for one player to take over and dominant, makes it tough for a coach to look good when he doesn’t have good players. At the same point, it can make a decent, or even a bad coach look good. Doc wasn’t a bad coach because his team was bad last year, and he’s not a great coach because his team was great this year. He’s obviously a good coach who needed the proper tools to deliver the goods — just like pretty much any other coach would. So just remember all the chants you heard for Doc’s head last year when you hear all the great stuff about him this year. Do you really think he suddenly became a genius over the offseason? Doubtful. It’s the players, for the most part, that define the coach. Not the other way around.