Rivers On Celtics Playoffs, Rondo’s One-Game Suspension

Doc Rivers applauded Paul Pierce’s effort in Game No. 2 against the Atlanta Hawks! (Photo Credit: MassLive.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers joined Sports Radio WEEI 93.7FM/850AM on Thursday to talk about his team’s first round series against the Atlanta Hawks, and Rajon Rondo’s one-game suspension, too.

On the dynamic of Pierce-Rivers: “I don’t always just come out and say it. Paul [Pierce] knew it because we changed about four sets, all four sets were all Paul, and shoot around, and in the practice we went through our skeleton offense and we went through 10 plays and they were all Paul. So, I didn’t think I had to say a lot. When you do that it’s clear where the ball is going. Whenever I do something like that I think it’s more important that the other four [on the floor] know what the coach’s thought is and not Paul. Paul knows anyway, [and] thinking, ‘wow,’ this play’s for me, that play’s for me, this is nice. [Overall], I just thought it was really important that we worked on all this spacing, and everyone else knew it. The great part about Avery [Bradley] is Avery understands like who he is, and what he does for our team, and he doesn’t really want to handle the ball too much. He knows what he can and can’t do, so he embraced it whole heartedly, so it was easy to do.”

On the play of Pierce in Game No. 2: “Paul rarely talks about having a bad game, I thought that was interesting in between game one and two. He basically said, I have to play better, and I was telling our staff [that] I wasn’t sure what that was translate into because he didn’t do that very often.”

On the NBA Playoff pressure: “I don’t know if we like it or they like it, [but] they embrace it. It doesn’t bother them. I think maybe another way – and in some ways they look like they enjoy it at times. This team – I don’t know how good we are or what we’re going to do, but we do dumb things at times that gets us in trouble, and then we tend to play well when that happens. It’s just an interesting group of guys.”

On Rondo’s play in Game No. 3: “I don’t want him to try and do too much, and try and force himself on the game, just let it come to him. I was really happy after the [first game] we basically stated to him we’re going to get your back, and that’s what you should say, but that doesn’t mean [you’ll] always do it, and it happened. But, I was really happy going onto the bus; Rondo was staying outside the bus door waiting for every teammate, and to shake their hand and say, ‘thank you.’ [And] it was really cool to see him do that. He waited there for each guy and just shook his hand and said; ‘thank you,’ and you could tell that he was really emotional about it, so it was really nice. Adversity sometimes bonds and makes your team continue to grow, and I think we had a lot of that this year, so it’s been good.”         

On Rondo’s Game No. 2 Suspension: “Well, number one you protect him, and number two you talk to him, and just try to get him to understand [that] you can’t do it, number one, and go talk about it. Players more in this day in time tend not to want to talk when things happen [badly], and I try to always get my guys to do the exact opposite – go and talk, get it over with, say you’re sorry and let’s move on, and we’re probably not going to have you the next game.”

On Rondo’s Suspension – Teaching Moment: “I think anything like that has to be. That doesn’t mean it teaches him the point where he’ll never do it again. He’s an emotional kid, he really is, but I think each time you do it, it helps the next time that you may not do it.”

On the future of Rondo – No Big-3: “I don’t worry about it right now, but that is something in the future that Rondo’s growth will be important [for the future of the Celtics]. And especially because he is emotional, and his intensity is great, but when you’re the best player on the team, and at time he maybe the only one. He has to have that understanding that no matter what happens the one guy that we can’t lose is you, and so that is something he’ll have to understand further and better as the years go on.”

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