The morning after: Doc talks Heat-Celtics

Jim Rogash

Doc talked to WEEI this morning about last night's epic game against Miami. Although there are no moral victories--especially against the hated Heat--there were several takeaways from Jeff Green's monster game to how they might attack LeBron in the future.

The full audio of Doc's WEEI interview is here and the good people at Green Street have transcribed some of his thoughts here. Now that twelve hours have passed and we've all been able to digest the game, a lot of people have been questioning Doc's decision to sit Jeff for so long and Paul Pierce's shot selection in the closing seconds. Here's what Rivers had to say:

"I don't mind that," Rivers said. "Listen, he got a good look at it. He maybe could have drove, I don't know. I don't question those types of shots at the end of the game. Because he makes those shots. If it goes in, it's a great shot. If it doesn't go in, then could we have gotten a better shot? I don't know."

Added Rivers: "Paul takes fadeaways. That's part of his shot. Having said that, the play was really what it was, except for it wasn't designed for a 3. Jason Terry actually set a terrific pick on LeBron. LeBron actually got tangled up on it - give him credit, he closes so quick it's amazing. But the play was just for a pin-down from Jason Terry, because I knew they didn't want to get off his body. And I thought Paul would have an opening. And Paul went out to the 3. He didn't probably have to. He may have been able to tight curl that. But I don't second-guess that."

Jeff Green scored 43 points, but he was not involved in the Celtics' final offensive play.

"He just had the shot before that," Rivers explained. "Paul's a better shot-maker low clock. Jeff Green is great, obviously. But they guarded him. There was a back screen for him on the back side of that. There was more than one option on the play. The guy who takes the ball out decides who he thinks is open."

Watching that final play again, it was a good call. The Captain got a good look and his shot was on line but just short. He makes it and we're calling Doc a genius and crediting Jet with a good screen on a guy that destroyed him earlier in the game.

Doc remarked right after the game that the Celtics were no longer a good ball handling team in the half court because of their lack of a true point guard and that's shown in last night's final possession and in a similar situation against Indiana. Instead of giving the ball to Rondo and getting him to break down the offense off the dribble and finding an open man, Boston has opted to find guys in catch-and-shoot opportunities, but let's not forget that the initial play was drawn up for Jeff Green to drive it to the hole.

After last night, expect to see a lot of that more often. In the NBA game, coaches are constantly looking for mismatches and last night, Green proved that he could do it against elite level defenders in LeBron James and Shane Battier. Earlier in the season, he was attacking second string forwards like Pavlovic and Novak, but as his body has gotten stronger, so has his confidence. Doc told WEEI, "I think you will [see him be more consistently good], and I think you’re starting to see it more and more out of him. It is about matchups, though. I felt really good going into that game about Jeff’s matchup at the 4, because I didn’t think they had a 4 that could stay in front him. And I thought Jeff took advantage of that. The key to it is that he took advantage of it and he kept doing it."

We shouldn't take too much out of one game, but that was a breakthrough for Green. He's had writer's block for the first half of the season, but has been coming into his own since the All Star break. Gary Dzen of Boston.com talks about how the Celtics can build around Green and Avery Bradley in his latest column and he's absolutely right. Doc has compared AB to Scottie Pippen defensively and in my humble opinion, Green can be Pippen on the offensive end. With all due apologies to Scalabrine's Worthy comparison, he's closer to Pippen in terms of his length, speed, and skill. Oh, and he can play defense, too.

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