Box & One With Boston Coach Doc Rivers

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: January 7, 2008

SEATTLE — Just a few months ago the Boston Celtics were in serious competition for a lottery pick and were what appeared to be light years away from putting a competitive team on the floor.

Well, the luck of the Irish has struck again and was kind enough to leave a pot of gold in the form of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnet and Paul Pierce. Oh what a difference a year makes!

When the trades were made in the off season there was immediate excitement, ticket sales went through the roof but I don’t think that anyone predicted the Celtics to have 29 wins and 3 losses which just happens to be the best record in the league.

I asked the Celtics Head Coach, Doc Rivers, what he had done differently this season? “I haven’t done anything differently, the atmosphere, my approach, love and respect for this game is still the same”, said Rivers.

“If I had to compare a difference between now and then it would be that last season I had to teach guys how to play basketball, this season I’m teaching a group of guys how to play together and grow together as a team.”

It is apparent that Rivers must be a great motivator because the Boston Celtics are exciting to watch and the intensity in which they step on the court every night is serious.

The Celtics are focused and are playing with a since of urgency that makes you wonder of all the possibilities. “The first thing that I did after the trades were finalize was to sit Kevin, Paul and Ray down together and explain to them that we could only go so far with our offense and that it would be our defense that would separate us, as you can see they bought into it and it was infectious to the rest of our players.”

Everything isn’t perfect in Boston, they do have there share of problems that most other teams would welcome. “At times I’ve got to get these guys to stop passing the ball.

Don’t get me wrong, Ray and Paul are shooters and are going to take there shots but sometimes Kevin is right underneath the basket and will pass the ball back out.”

These guys like each other and want to play together and it shows, it’s entertaining to watch these guys interact with each other in the locker room after a game. “This does make my job easy, I’m just trying to stay out of the way and not screw things up for them.”

The Big Three captures most of the headline but Coach Doc Rivers is quick to point out that this is a team and everyone contributes. “I can’t begin to say enough things about what James Posey does for us and the match up problems that he causes for other teams.”

“He can make the difference that often changes the game and gives us the necessary defensive stops that changes the game. We’ve got a great group of people here that contribute in so many ways that doesn’t show up in the stats but makes the difference for us in the win lost column.”

To paraphrase a line from football Coach Dennis Green, The Boston Celtics are exactly who you think they are, if you want to crown them then go ahead.” Coach Doc Rivers will be the first to tell you that, “we haven’t done anything but prove that we can win 29 games.”

“In our minds we know that we can get better and that is what it’s going to take for the Celtics to hold up that Championship trophy. The only thing that 29 wins will get you is a few hand shakes, a couple of free meals and that’s about it”