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Doc Rivers on the Lakers: "They still have not beaten our starting five"

Aug 23, 2010, 4:02 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Rivers_Nicholson.jpgDoc Rivers came back to the Celtics because he wanted to make one more run at it with this group, he believed that this unit had one more title in it.

Of course, there are a couple obstacles to that. For one, there’s that Laker team that just beat the Celtics in the finals.

But Rivers still believes Boston was the better team when healthy, as he told John Thompson when he was on ESPN 980 in Washington D.C.

They still have not beaten our starting five. Our starting five against the Lakers starting five has a ring. Tell him don’t forget that. We will be back strong and Perk (Kendrick Perkins) will be there next year if there’s a game seven.”

I hate the “what if” injury game. Doc, I’ll counter your “what if Perkins was healthy for Game 7?” with a “What if Andrew Bynum had been healthy the entire series?” The what if game is circular.

But before Boston can worry about the Lakers, the Celtics have to get out of the East. And we all know that Miami is going to be good, including Rivers, but he wonders about their defense.

Will (the Miami trio) work? Eventually it will work. Will it work right away? I coach the Boston Celtics so I hope not. I do think people are all focusing on the wrong thing. I think everybody is talking about shots. Is there enough shots, will they have enough shots, will they be able to play together, whose going to take the last shot and that could cause turmoil, but I think the key for them is will they defend? Because if they defend and get stops, they’re talented enough offensively to get points. The key for them is will they buy into being a defensive unit.”

Rivers has one new big addition this season in Shaquille O’Neal – who may be key in getting past Miami in the playoffs, But Rivers is honest about how hard working Shaq into the Celtics system can be.

My biggest concern honestly coach is defensively because every time Shaq comes on the floor, everyone is going to run pick and roll and no one has been successful in figuring out how to use him and I’m no smarter than anyone else. That’s all we’ve been focusing on this summer is trying to figure out what we’re going to do in pick and rolls when he comes into the game.”

That is about where the interview ended, as Rivers had to go to his local church and make an offering, light a candle and pray for his team to stay healthy.

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Celticgirl - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    Hey Barry Tesar, you are right in your analysis of what happened in game 7, but here’s a bigger question. Why is Kobe Bryant, a womanizer and abuser who barely managed to buy his way out of a rape charge, the NBA’s “golden boy”. He ought to be ostracized by fans and sportswriters as well. SHAME!

  2. sprdagod - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    pep game he says that because one in 2008 bymum was not the starter odom and gasol started and with bynum being a backup thAT WAS HURT IS NOT A FACTOR AND I LIKE HIM but die hard celtic he has talent but why do harp on hi9m being injured he has ben that since the draft while perk has ben a steady starter and not injured bynum 6yr never played 45 games … the season is 82 only casuse he plays for la they arent saying bust ala oden great talent but a bust for injury so why the same lable when both have about the same ave s do you se what im getting at and they cant stop saying how old we are the first thing they say about celts but lakers are older why media makes up stories for pub

  3. mikesporty - Aug 26, 2010 at 3:48 AM

    Boston Sucks!

  4. luffy - Aug 26, 2010 at 5:04 AM

    WTF sprdagod?! LOL! Go back to your cave dude…
    To Celticgirl, I think you’re a rape victim that sued and didn’t win, not Kobe’s fault, pity you beeeyaach…

  5. wes unseld - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    McDaddy,
    you are a MC Idiot shut the hell up, and crawl back under dic rivers underwear, and stay there until dec please…

  6. McDaddy - Aug 26, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Hey Wes,
    No comment about “if Bynum was healthy” then L.A. would
    win everytime they played Boston like the other delusional
    Laker fans? That to me is a moot point because Mr. Bynum
    has never been healthy for a whole season. So it does get old reading post after post whining about Bynum’s health. I am an idiot for predicting Boston will beat Miami, calling out LeBron for his behavior against Orlando 2 years ago (not to mention the ESPN thing)and wanting my favorite team to beat the hated Lakers again?
    Celticgirl, we men never grow up (and why do we have to, can’t
    we have a little fun) when it comes to sports. And if you are
    a true Celtic fan then you would not have any problem with me
    calling the Laker fans morons – ha,ha! Because they are!
    Go Doc! You are right! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!

  7. McDaddy - Aug 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.!

  8. Jimee Johnnson - Aug 26, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Note to all fans: talk is cheap, but a whole lot of fun!

  9. TB - Aug 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    You hit it right on the head with this one…..I hate when people talk about the 08 year. We won the title with Bynum, Gasol, ariza, fisher, and kobe starting in 09. and then again with artest replacing ariza. And im tired of hearing the game 7 was rigged stuff. Stop whining, the lakers got more calls because they were more aggressive,they cleary won the rebound battle and won the battle of the paint, thats where the calls came from. The Celtics still have not beaten us with a healthy Bynum and I guess you can say we havent beat the Celtics with a healthy Perkins…bottom line, Perkins was at full strength the first 6 games, Bynum was not, yet when Bynum was on the court, he was more productive…just imagine if he had been healthy

  10. Myron - Aug 27, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Honestly Doc without a miraculous game from Ray Allen and facing a healthy Bynum and Kobe you would have won ONE game. If we step back one series a healthy Lebron would have caused MORE problems for the celts also.

  11. Big D - Aug 28, 2010 at 1:02 AM

    C mon Doc, dude didn’t you see that Laker team in 2008. They were limping in, Luke Walton had just came back after missing a third of the season. No Trevor Arizza who gave the Lakers that defensive focus and brought so many easy baskets because of forcing turnovers. Last but not least Andrew Bynum was out with his injury. The Celtics have never faced this Laker team with a healthy Bynum. Perkins, Big Baby, KG etc.. Ask teams like the Suns and Utah how good this Laker team is with Bynum 100%. They were beating by margins you can’t understand, some games were nearing 80 points in the second quarter. Oh yeah Kobe had the avulsion fracture Feb 14, 2008 on his finger. Doc, Laker fans wouldn’t usually get into this type conversation. But lets keep it real dude, you need to give credit where it is due and take it like a man.

  12. Drew - Aug 28, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    I disagree, Big D. First of all, the Lakers and Celtics split the first two games in LA when Bynum had two great games. He was the best Laker on the floor in Game 2 and they still lost. Plus, it’s not as if he didn’t play at all in the series. He was playing hurt. A lot of guys play hurt. A 50% Bynum is not like him sitting out entirely.
    Also, when has this guy been consistently healthy? When does the “If/When Bynum gets healthy…” line get old? He’s a big, fragile body that is prone to injury. Bynum gave the Lakers almost nothing in last year’s playoffs until the last few games of the finals. Most people forget that. He picked up cheap fouls and went to the bench, missed defensive assignments, and seemed generally soft and lackadaisical. It came to the point where Phil Jackson didn’t even want to play him anymore. So, I think the Bynum argument has been blown way out of proportion. WHEN he plays well, healthy, with intensity, and in sync with his teammates, yeah, the Lakers are pretty good. How often is that? The Lakers have proven they’re pretty good with a Gasol-Odom frontline and Bynum giving sporadic minutes. I think Perkins is more intrical to Boston’s success than Bynum is to the Lakers.

  13. JD - Aug 28, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    Doc is just trying to fire up his guys give him a break. With that Eastern Conference the way it is this year, he’ll need all the edge he can manage to muster.

  14. McDaddy - Aug 30, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Hey McMonkeyboy,
    You got a laugh out of me. Well you are a passionate Laker
    fan and good for you. That is what makes the Boston – L.A.
    rivalry one of the best ever. The Lakers and the Celtics were
    evenly matched this past season and the home court turned out
    to be the edge the Lakers needed. The deserved to win and may
    have won even with Perkins playing. I do think the Celtics are
    a much better team with Perkins in there. He is very important
    to their team chemistry and could have made the difference in
    game seven. The Lakers were fortunate that a few shots bounced
    the wrong way or they would have lost again. You all have to admit
    that you were lucky and barely escaped. If the Celts can get by
    Orlando and Miami again you all will scared that your precious
    little Laker boys won’t be able to pull it off again. Admit it!
    You are scared! BEAT L.A! BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.!

  15. McDaddy - Aug 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Thank you Drew. You are one of the few intelligent posters here.
    God, the Laker fans are the biggest bunch of whining crybabies and
    idiots I have ever heard! If any of these dopes ever met A. Bynum in person they would immediately drop to their knees no doubt.
    Is Bynum going to have surgery again this season? Want to bet he
    won’t be healthy next year in the finals again? If he is then
    McShaq will easily shut him down. That will be what you all deserve,
    an ex-Laker kicking your asses! And McMonkeyboy, nobody is saying
    Kobe is not a great player. He is the reason the Lakers can compete
    for a title. But he is and never will be as good as Jordan. Jordan
    would never have collapsed in game six of the finals like Kobe did
    2 years ago? Remember game six in ’08? Kobe was shut down and
    your Lakers got beat by 40 points! He almost blew it again
    last year in game 7. He is great, but second best to Jordan.
    Sorry Kobe, that must hurt your huge ego!

  16. Commenter #1`2345 - Aug 30, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Sure Doc. Whatever makes you sleep at night. But simply put the game can be played/won by 5 back-ups and the result was 4-3 Lakers. BTW, the Lakers lost to the Celtics starting 5 and the biased officiating (esp in game #2) so the Celtics starting 5 ALSO have not beaten/played the Lakers starting 5 yet. Doc is turning out to be a real whiner sending videos to the NBA about the same moving screens, holding and shoving that gave them the edge these last 3 years. Hypocrite.

  17. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    McDaddy: In an ugly game 7, the Lakers shot poorly but played more aggressively and KILLED the Celtics on rebounding. That’s not LUCK that’s effort.

  18. McDaddy - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Mr. Anonymous,
    Read my earlier post. I said the Lakers deserved to win.
    They were evenly matched with the Celtics this time unlike
    ’08 when they were crushed. How many points did they win by?
    If the Celtics had a few bounces their way the rebounding advantage
    would not have mattered. It was an ugly game. Actually, the whole
    series was fairly ugly. The officiating was horrible on both
    sides. Memo to David Stern: fix the refs! Not that way. The
    right way! And again. Perkins, one of the best rebounders, was not there because of Bynum bringing his full weight down on Perkins shoulders. So Doc was right after all! Thank you for confirming our argument Mr. Anonymous! Much appreciated.

  19. dball - Sep 15, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    Both teams were absolutely exhausted by game 7. The defensive effort of both teams took its toll.
    In the end, The Lakers had a little more left in the tank and had a little boost from the home crowd. I’m pretty certain that the home court made the difference.
    Doc, take your lumps and go for a better regular season record next time and MAYBE you’ll fare better in the finals.

  20. anticrust - Sep 15, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    No change in ownership, unlike the Oklahoma City Thunder, Clay Bennett comes in, buys team, acts as if he cares to stay, takes team to OKC, leaves the Sonic’s name behind. Seattle, a great city was “taken by a fool”. Teams move, the league owners vote on it, and it happens. The Minneapolis Lakers were not disbanded in a manner such as when the old ABA collapsed and about 4 teams survived the cut and became NBA teams, and the other teams and players were dispersed in a manner which I cannot recall. I understand your point of view, however, I think there was enough continuity to deem the “Los Angeles Lakers” as an evolution of the “Minneapolis Lakers”. Personally, I believe the league has grown too large, and teams are allowed to move too freely. For example, The Los Angeles Clippers, moved from San Diego (I know, Buffalo origanlly) to Los Angeles and the league and its owners voted to allow this. Orange County is about 28 miles from The old LA Sports Arena where the Clippers played and the Staples Center where they currently play. First I believe the Clippers should never have been allowed to move to Los Angeles (San Diego is a beautiful city, and ranked around the 8th largest city in the United States at the time). Second, if they were allowed to move from San Diego, I believe that the move should only have been allowed contingent on a clause that they would eventually move to Orange County, the second most populous county in California. Around that time two groups were racing to build an arena, one never came to be, Irvine, and one did, “The Arrowhead Pond”, now “The Honda Center”, and is directly on the other side of a freeway from where the Angels play baseball, I believe it is in the city of Anaheim, personally I don’t care. Other surrounding cities in the “OC” as it is often referred to include Fullerton, Orange, Huntington Beach, Stanton, Buena Park and the aforementioned Anaheim. That is just North Orange County. South Orange County, often referred to as the “Gold Coast” includes cities such as Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point. As I’m sure you may know, but probably don’t care Kobe Bryant lives in “South OC”, but works in “Downtown, Los Angeles”. So going back to the point of Boston winning all their championships in one city, whereas the Lakers moved from one city to another, at approximately the same time in history, that the Brooklyn Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, you are entitled to make your point, but I believe otherwise. I believe their move was just a physical relocation, not a business rebuild. I often think about the Sonics, and how they truly don’t exist any longer. The jerseys of the Sonic greats (Gary Payton always comes to mind) need a true home in which to hang. I’d rather they hang in the old arenas in Seattle, than in Oklahoma City, which I believe they don’t. Clay Bennett basically committed an act of “genocide” to the team “The Seattle Supersonics”. Have a nice day.

  21. anticrust - Sep 15, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Another thought just popped into my mind, and I’m sure you can load this one into your geographical significance chain of thought. When the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, I believe they played in the same “Los Angeles Sports Arena” for a short period of time before moving to “The Forum” (aka “The Fabululous Forum, The Great Western Forum). That arena sits in the city of Inglewood. So are you going to insist that the championships which the Lakers won in the 80’s are also not worthy, as they eventually moved to the city of Los Angeles into “The Staples Center”? In thinking about it along that vein, the true Los Angeles team is the “Clippers” therefore. As they played in the LA Sports Arena, until their cheap owner, Donald Sterling, probably told them “guys, can you jog a few miles North, because we’re moving…”
    OK, this “horse” has been beaten dead.

  22. Eric - Sep 16, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    doc is using this to fire up his guys, not make excuses for the finals. He still wants them to have the swagger of the champs. relax everyone knows injuries are a part of the game, i know the celtics could have used perkins in game 7 for sure.

  23. Anonymous - Sep 20, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    sO SO TRUE

  24. rob - Sep 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    I UNDERSTAND WHY HE SAID IT BUT IT IS BELOW DOC TO SAY IT-SOUNDS A LOT LIKE DANNY AIGNE -SOUR GRAPES ARE ALWAYS SOUR- lAKERS EARNED THE TITLE-PAY RESPECT TO THE KINGS OF THE NBA- LAKERS SQUAD EARNED THE TITLE.

  25. YouGotServed - Sep 23, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Won all “your” titles in Boston? First, “you” weren’t on any of those teams. Second, the LAKERS won those titles…the city that they “represented” is irrelevant (the home city only exists to guarantee a certain amount of SUCKERS (aka LOSERS) that will root for the team no matter what just because the name of the city is attached. Third, Boston fans are the biggest fairweather fan group in the world and only play the “won all the titles in one city” card because they are pathetic losers who have no life.
    Go screw yourself.

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