Doc Rivers appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan Show this morning to talk about opening night in Miami, the #20 drama, and what the Celtics need to do to improve.
Over 36 hours have passed since the Opening Night loss to Miami. The build up is over and the drama has died down, but Doc took a few minutes to clear the air. Here are some of the highlights:
"I think we're potentially better, but I don't think we are right now. The continuity of our team has to settle in. On paper it looks great, but the key for us is everyone buying into their roles and understanding their roles. I think before the season starts everyone is happy, and then the season starts and you start figuring out, 'Wait, I'm not going to get as many shots or as many minutes.' Then you have what kind of character you have with your team.
"You just don't know guys until you coach guys. I will say this, I think we've got a great group of guys. I don't anticipate that being a problem, but you never know."
"Kevin is really genuine," the coach said. "I don't know if the word is mad or disappointed. I don't know what the word is. Kevin has his own code, and God bless him. I love his mentality. I think it's refreshing sometimes."
Rivers admitted his team is behind in getting where it needs to be with team defense. "It's just going to take time," said Rivers. "I'm a little disappointed in [the defense] because we're behind and you can feel that. I see the team every day. They are working, we're going to get it right. It's just going to take time."
Doc also talked about Rondo's flagrant foul on Dwyane Wade that Wade characterized as a "punk play" and just like any good general, he sided with his player:
"I didn't think it was that hard. I argued against the flagrant," said Rivers. "Listen, Wade has committed a lot of hard fouls on Rondo and we forget about the elbow injury that Rondo had [during the 2011 playoffs]. That was created by Dwyane Wade. I don't think [Rondo's flagrant] was a punk move, unless [Wade's foul that hurt Rondo's elbow] is, too."
"I like his fire -- I want to keep that fire," said Rivers.
While Rivers acknowledged a desire for his players to keep their emotions in check and not hurt the team, he also stressed that he likes Rondo to play with an edge.
Disregard the pink shoes that Rondo wore for Breast Cancer Awareness Month; he was feeling less than charitable Tuesday night. By the end of the game, you could tell that he was getting chippy. There were the no calls on DWade's hook and Pierce's drive in the closing minutes. There was Garnett's phantom elbow when he was simply raising his arms to avoid contact with Chalmers. And as Doc suggests, there have been numerous times when Wade has locked up with Rondo and taken him down. For Wade to suggest that Rondo is a punk and that he stopped himself because his kids were watching is ludicrous. You want to see a clothesline?
Kevin McHale Clotheslines Kurt Rambis (via kscileli)
That's a clothesline. It's just another example of the arrogance of entitlement that the Heat have exuded since being put together three years ago.
It's 88 days until we face Miami again in Boston. Avery Bradley, the DWade stopper, will be back. "That guy's" ankles will be getting sore. The defense will be back. The Garden will be rocking. And I hope DWade's kids tune in.