CelticsLife participated in a conference call with Doc Rivers earlier today. Due to some technical issues we don't have a recording for you, however, here is the full transcript via ASAP Sports
Q. I was just wondering how close did the Celtics come to being broken up at the trade deadline? And how glad are you that they weren't?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, I'm obviously happy that they weren't actually at that time. You know, I don't really know how close. We all read about the Ray things. So I guess that part was close. But other than that, that was it. There was nothing else that was going to happen.
I'm a big fan of the guys we have. I'm glad that it ended up being the way it turned out.
Q. One other thing. Do you have to look at Game 6 as being your Game 7?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, yeah. We always have to do that. I think when you get to the playoffs and you get to 2‑2, I think from that point on every game is Game 7. Game 5, Game 6, Game 7. I think that's how you have to look at them.
Q. How do you balance what you see in premier players when they're struggling versus what you believe in them as far as being able to work adversity and be successful?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Ask that again. I'm sorry.
Q. How do you balance‑‑ when you see you're players struggling at times, how do you balance seeing that and not overreacting, as opposed to having the belief that at some point they're going to get it going and it's going to help you guys?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Really, it's just a feel. Last night I just thought we were pressing. You could see it. We had the fumbles. I don't know how many times we had turnovers. We turned the ball right back over to them.
On those nights you just have to‑‑ I think they need to see somebody calm. Especially on the road. The crowd is not going to be calm. They're going to be excited. I think they needed encouragement. I think they needed to be reminded how good they are and that we were getting good shots, that we were sloppy and turning the ball over.
But that was going to change, and we just had to hang in there. I think that was the message they needed to hear.
But there are other nights where you see where the energy is not there and you go another route. Listen, sometimes you're right at what you're trying to do, and sometimes you're wrong.
Q. Just a follow‑up to that. The guys you've been using primarily off the bench for the most part are veteran players. How much of an asset is it to have veteran players coming off the bench who are major rotation guys for you?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, I think it helps. You're hoping that they are not going to be shocked by the moment. Having said that, even though they're veteran players, they're not veteran players on our team, if you know what I mean. These are all guys‑‑ Mickael Pietrus, he's been to the Finals. He's still (Indiscernible) going to react, because he's been to the Finals with another team. Keyon Dooling has been in the league for a long time, but he's never been in the playoffs with our team.
It does make a little bit of a difference.
Q. Doc, when you look at your success and what you guys have done in the last three or four games, how much do you attribute to your adjustment? How much do you attribute to you sticking to your original game plan? And lastly, how much do you attribute to what Miami did or isn't doing?
COACH DOC RIVERS: I think it's just us sticking to our original game plan. We've made some adjustments that have worked. But they've made some that have worked as well. So I don't know if there's been an edge there or not. Honestly, I just think at the end of the day we know who we are. We are who we are, and we're not going to change who we are because we really can't. We don't have enough guys to do it.
The only change I would say we've made in a big way is that we've played small more than big. Other than that, we pretty much have stuck to our guns because I don't think we have enough to change a whole bunch. And our guys understand that.
Q. Doc, just curious, looking back at the history of the NBA, you go back to those Sixers days when they played the Celtics. Celtics went out and got (Indiscernible) to slow down Andrew Toney. Was that something maybe along the lines of Pietrus with his success with Orlando against LeBron, to have another guy to battle LeBron for you like that?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Clearly it was one of the reasons. Yeah, we like him offensively to be able to make shots. But we remember him guarding Kobe and LeBron. Listen, it's not like we're stopping LeBron. It just gives us another guy to guard LeBron. And that was part of the reason we wanted him. There isn't a guy who can stop LeBron. He's just too good.
Q. One other thing going back to the history of the league and the history of it repeating itself, Kareem when he got Magic was invigorated. That youthful exuberance made Kareem's career last another six or seven years. Do you see that infusion of youth with Rondo helping KG and his resurgence in these playoffs as well as Ray and Paul?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Yeah, I do. I think it's a good comparison. I don't know if it was Magic Johnson‑‑ even though I do think his personality had a lot to do with it. I really believe veterans have to feel‑‑ I think veterans‑‑ it's very difficult when a veteran is at the end of his career and he's just playing games knowing that his team can't win it. I think that's hard. I think when veterans see themselves with a shot at winning it and winning it all, then I think it invigorates them.
And I think Rondo, after the All‑Star break and the way he started playing, I think it helped all of our older guys. They said hey, guys, why not us? We have a shot here. Let's try it.
Q. Hey, Doc. Can you talk about Rondo‑‑ obviously it wasn't a great (Indiscernible) stop in the game. And at times maybe he wouldn't have stuck with it the way he did. Just what it says about his development that he stuck with it, obviously came up big in the fourth quarter?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Yeah, good question. Listen, that's an area we've talked about. You guys in Boston have seen it. A great area of growth. I talked about it a couple of games ago. Rondo's biggest opponent a lot of times is Rondo. He's so hard on himself. He wants to be great every play, every possession. Early in his career‑‑ it still happens now‑‑ he has a couple of bad moments he gets down on himself. Then he'll have a bad six or seven or eight minutes, even sometimes a game. And I think his growth has been he's been able to pull out of it quicker and quicker, which obviously allows us to be a better team.
You think about three‑quarters Rondo was okay. The fourth quarter he made play after play for us. And that's a great example of being resilient mentally.
Q. Do you attribute that to anything besides himself, kind of making that development?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Yeah, I think at the end of the day it's always the player. We talk about it as a staff with him. I talk to him. His players talk to him. But I think at the end of the day, all the credit goes to the player. At some point he makes that decision and he starts growing in that area.
Q. And is everything okay with his left arm, elbow?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Yeah. I don't know what happened there. I think he got scratched or cut. I'm not even sure. You've been around (Indiscernible) zero (Indiscernible) an injury. Never about them. Don't want to know about them.
Q. Hey, Doc. When you have a team like the Heat being put together the way they were and the (Indiscernible) the way they are, is there a lot more in the situation they are in on them for these games than just a team‑‑ where there's just not that much expectations. Can there be more pressure? More on their shoulders?
COACH DOC RIVERS: I don't know. I hear that. We're trying to win too. I've always said that. I don't really prescribe to that theory, one team has more pressure than the other team. We want to win just like them. We have guys who are at the end of their careers. Our sense of urgency, I think, at times may be greater than theirs.
If not greater, the same. So I think the pressure is in different ways. They are put under pressure maybe because of the urgency to get this right with this group. We're put under pressure because our window is closing.
Q. Could you describe how effective Chris Bosh was on the offensive end in the first half? And are you also surprised you didn't see much of him in the second half?
COACH DOC RIVERS: You know, I was very surprised how good he looked. He looked rhythmic. You know what I'm saying. He looked like he had been playing. So we were very surprised with that.
As far as surprised at the other end, I will stay away from that. That's the other thing. I didn't notice it until after the game. That's how focused we were. I was really focused on us. Then after the game when one of my coaches brought it up, I said, well, yeah, that's interesting. But I'm sure there was a reason. I'm sure Erik told you the reason. Honestly, I haven't heard it yet.
Q. Doc, you mentioned last night that Ray came out to get his ankle set. Wasn't sure if he was coming back in. What happened with that? And do you think he'll be fine tomorrow?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Yeah, he'll be fine. He just said it locked on him again. That's happened a couple of times. He needed our team doctor to just maneuver it ‑‑ I guess it would be almost chiropractic‑‑ just to unhinge it so he can run again. So that was what it was.
Q. Coming from behind and winning these last three games, what do you attribute it to? Maybe just a couple variables?
COACH DOC RIVERS: I just think we're resilient. We've been all year. We've lost games, we've won games, but we rarely go away, if you know what I'm saying. We just kind of hang in there.
Our guys feel very good down the stretch in games because they've been together. And listen, we didn't play well last night. And if we don't play better tomorrow night, we're not going to win. I think our guys understand that.
Having said that, the fact that we didn't play well, we hung in there long enough, I think our defense gave us a chance to win the game, and then we won it at the end.
Q. Doc, how would you describe (Indiscernible) personality as a player? And how is it similar or different from yours?
COACH DOC RIVERS: I don't think it's much different. I think he's a driven, determined player. I think to coach him, you would love that in him. Every coach that had him has loved that. He's just‑‑ he wants to win. You know, he gets frustrated at times just like I did as a player when things aren't going right team‑wise. But he's as competitive of a player that you'll ever get. I've actually ‑‑ in a crazy way, I've actually heard people knock that, which blows my mind, why you would ever knock a guy that's competitive. I even heard he's cocky.
I've yet to meet Dwyane Wade‑‑ the uncocky Dwyane Wade or the uncocky LeBron or the uncocky Ray or the uncocky Paul. Those are the things that blow my mind when I hear negatives about him. Other than that, he's a competitive guy. He wants to win, he wants to be the best. That's what you want.
Q. This group has been in a situation twice when it's locked(Indiscernible) 3‑2 and lost those two games. How much can you fall back on that? How much can that help, knowing that there's still a way to go?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, we better know that. Listen, we have one home game left. And that's it in this series. And we have to understand that. And we have to come with that sense of urgency.
I think our guys get that. They know what's at stake. And so does Miami.
Q. Along those same lines, they're going to come in desperate trying to throw hay‑makers. You're going to have the crowd in your favor. When do you think you get a good sense of which direction this game is going to go?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, you know, sometimes you get it early with your guys and you hope if it's not the right way, you have a chance to pull them out of it. But then there's sometimes, like last night, you had a good sense by our guys. They just weren't playing well. And you just have to hang around and finally it clicked for us.
It can come at any point of the game. The key is to be in touch‑‑ if it's not going well, to be in touch in the game so you can change it and turn it around.
Q. I've heard you say the last couple of days about hanging around in that fourth quarter. How much confidence do you have in your guys that if it's close, you're going to win? Or is it less (Indiscernible) for the other team, that they don't handle late situations well?
COACH DOC RIVERS: No, I don't look at the other team much at all. I just like our guys. You know, like I said, it doesn't guarantee we're going to win anything. But our guys do believe and they execute extremely well down the stretch. And when we do that, we do win, but when we don't, we lose.
So it's an every‑day process for us.
Q. Going back to Rondo, twice in these playoffs he's reacted very emotionally to contact. Not that he doesn't get it from moment one. But in the Atlanta series it cost him a game. In Game 4 he kicked back and put himself and his team in position to perhaps to strengthen them physically down the road. Can you tell when that type of an eruption might come up? And how do you handle that in Rajon?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, if you could tell that, I would take him out, I can tell you that, and then put him back in. At times you can see it coming and try to get him off the floor. You don't say much. You just try to let him gather himself. Sometimes you do need to say something. And then there's sometimes you don't see it and it happens.
Like I said, he's emotional. I would rather have an emotional player, high‑energy player, than a guy that's low‑energy and you're pushing every day to get started. To me those players don't translate well in our league. And the (Indiscernible) the emotional players do. They translate well.
At the end of the game, they care, they are emotional about the game. And I would rather have a bunch of those guys.
Q. I'm working off some drafts. I'm trying to change it a little bit. How close are youand Monty. (Indiscernible) change the workout and they talk about it. How much of an impact has he been on your family?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Monty has been‑‑ shoot, Monty is my closest, one of my closest friends. Very close with our family. The wives, everything. Monty is a terrific human being, obviously. It's really interesting. Now you have a son that's going to get drafted, and Monty is one of the coaches. It's just a strange dynamic. It's a good one, obviously. Very good one. But it is fun.
Q. How rewarding is it now‑‑ it's been a frustrating year for you coaching‑wise. (Indiscernible) this time of year the message seems to be sinking in, the things you've been saying all year?
COACH DOC RIVERS: You know, I think it's always a process with the team. And I think it's a never‑ending process. And that's one of the reasons I've liked this team from the beginning. I think at times we didn't maybe follow through on the message. But I always thought they were trying to absorb the message.
So that group in this way has been pretty rewarding. Having said that, we just got to keep plugging along. But this is a good group. I've said it for a while. It's just a good group to coach. It's not‑‑ clearly not my most talented group, but they are a good group to coach. We have some wild personalties that all fit. When you get that, it's really nice in your locker room.
COACH DOC RIVERS: I can't hear you. There's some background noise. I can't hear you.
Q. Doc, was there a point in your season where you felt to yourself‑‑ was there a moment that it really struck you about this team?
COACH DOC RIVERS: No, we had a moment in Oklahoma City in the locker room after they blew us out. It was before the game‑‑ it was during the game where I made comments to our coaches what we're going to do in the second half of the season. It was after the game that I delivered the message. And then really from that point on, we kind of gathered ourselves. Now, it took us a while to get running, but that was an important part of our season.
Q. What was the message?
COACH DOC RIVERS: That we're going to change how we play. Kevin was going to move to the five, Brandon was going to be the four, and we were going to go from there. I said I don't know who else off the bench is going to be in the rotation. That would have to be earned. But that's how we're playing, and that's how we're playing the rest of the year.
Q. Doc, I'm sure the first thing at training camp you looked at whatever roster you had and said okay, Doc, I'm going to have to do some miracles here. And whatever teams you had, when you assessed this team, was there something that kind of went through your mind about this team?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, listen, I made some comments to our scouts and stuff before the year. The two things I actually said was if somehow we could move Kevin to a five and we could have a starting four, that would be great. If somehow we could move Ray to the bench and get a starting two, that would be great. But right now we don't have that. As the year went on, it ended up turning out that way. Now Ray is back again in the starting lineup.
But I didn't know our vision yet. It was really a frustrating two weeks, if you remember, before the season started. We thought we had David West signed. And he ended up going to Indiana. We thought we had Reggie Evans. We thought we had Jeff Green. None of those worked out. That was almost in a four‑day period. So that was a tough little stretch for us.
Q. If you look at this series so far through five and you looked ahead to tomorrow, what's the one or maybe two keys for you guys to be successful and end this thing in six?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, obviously we have to take them out of transition. We have to move to the ball so they don't have driving lanes. And for us offensively it comes down to us getting stops. When we get stops, we run. When they score on us, we really struggle scoring, because they get back. And once they get their defense set, they're athleticism at times actually overwhelms our offense.
So we have to score in transition and we have to score in space. And I really think the only way we do that is by getting stops.
Guys, thanks. Appreciate it.