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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. dan - Aug 23, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    “Our starting five against the Lakers starting five has a ring.”
    Really? When, 1984?

  2. Chris - Aug 23, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    You know, no one has beaten the Lakers’ starting five (since acquiring Pau Gasol) in any series either. The ONLY series the Lakers have lost since his acquisition was the 2008 Finals, when Bynum wasn’t playing due to injury.
    Shut up, Doc Rivers.

  3. bballfan - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    geeze doc rivers your a moron, your top five against the lakers top five got a ring, uhm no sorry your team did not get the ring against the top five, bynum was out, ariza was out and gasol ahd only been with the lakers a couple of months. so for your saying that is sort of childish and sells the lakers short on thier talent, the celtics had 2 games to get the ring and couldnt do it, yes in 2008 celtics were great and defeated a lakers team that didnt have what the celtics had (CHEMISTRY AND A FULL ROSTER OF THIER BEST)did they deserve the ring hell yeah they earned it. in 2010 did they have a full roster actually except for perkins who really wasnt that vital a piece they still had a supposed beter bench etc etc, and the lakers still didnt have a 100% bynum, and the lakers won, did they deserve it HELL YES THEY DID, THEY EARNED IT. so be a man and be professional stop making excuses for your teams loss. they lost deal with it and move on you big baby. btw just an FYI im not a lakers fan or a celtics fan i watch bball for the game and hate all teams its the players that make the game

  4. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Doc, desperation isn’t your most attractive suit. Take it off and put your balls back on.

  5. Sal - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Doc Rivers is already playing that card? He’s got a lot of selling to do. IF Bynum wasn’t playing on one leg, it would have been over in 5.
    And the NBA let Boston get away with so many fouls on game 7, so I don’t know what Rivers is talking about. Plain and simple, Boston ran out of gas, they are old and next year they are going to be older.

  6. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    You could use a couple of spelling lessons before you go calling someone else a moron……..

  7. Kobe's the man - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Should up Rivers!!! Sour grapes. If Bynum was healthy that series doesn’t even go 7.

  8. LJP305 - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    If Doc really is honest that his biggest concern about Shaq “is defensively because every time Shaq comes on the floor, everyone is going to run pick and roll”, he won’t have to be concerned the entire season. Shaq will continue taking off at least 30% of the games as he has during the last 5 years of his career especially given the fact that he will be paid less than 7% of what he was paid in Cleveland and Phoenix.

  9. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    oh geeze anon sorry im not a typist the fact that i mistyped a couple of words doesnt dismiss the fact that he is a moron and hence i guess so are you to point out a couple of minor spelling errors…hence for the guy with no balls to even put a name to his talking smack..the following
    geeze doc rivers your a moron, your top five against the lakers top five got a ring, uhm no sorry your team did not get the ring against the top five, bynum was out, ariza was out and gasol HAD only been with the lakers a couple of months. so for your saying that is sort of childish and sells the lakers short on thier talent, the celtics had 2 games to get the ring and couldnt do it, yes in 2008 celtics were great and defeated a lakers team that didnt have what the celtics had (CHEMISTRY AND A FULL ROSTER OF THIER BEST)did they deserve the ring hell yeah they earned it. in 2010 did they have a full roster actually except for perkins who really wasnt that vital a piece they still had a supposed BETTER bench etc etc, and the lakers still didnt have a 100% bynum, and the lakers won, did they deserve it HELL YES THEY DID, THEY EARNED IT. so be a man and be professional stop making excuses for your teams loss. they lost deal with it and move on you big baby. btw just an FYI im not a lakers fan or a celtics fan i watch bball for the game and hate all teams its the players that make the game.
    THERE ANON HAPPY NOW 2 WORDS CORRECTED YOU SCHMUCK

  10. Francisco - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    This is such a lame excuse by Rivers….how soon he and the celtic fans forget that Boston has ALSO failed to beat the LAKERS starting FIVE….remember BYNUM did not play in the FINALS in 2008 and BYNUM was rendered almost useless by his injury in this last finals matchup….fact is…celtics are an aging team that wore down and will be even older this year….but hey good luck to all…

  11. MCLOVIN - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    WELL DOC YOUR RIGHT . BUT THEY HAVE BEATEN THE CELTICS
    TEAM . AND THE CELTICS HAVENT BEAT THE LAKERS WITH A HEALTHY
    BYNUM EITHER . EVEN WITH A 45% BYNUM THEY ARE BETTER THAN THE CELTICS. IN THERE HAY DAY THE CELTICS WITH GARNETT, ALLEN & PIERCE
    7OR 8 YRS AGO WOULD HAVE BEEN A UNSTOPPABLE TEAM . BUT FATHER TIME CAUGHT UP WITH THEM . NOW WITH GRANDADDY SHAQ THERE THE WILL BE EVEN SLOWER

  12. lakers2010 - Aug 23, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Doc Rivers is *crying* and wishing for another ring…

  13. cr08 - Aug 23, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    you mean like claiming all those championships ? la , tinsel town and fakers. we won all ours in boston

  14. T. Rogers - Aug 23, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Come on, Doc. You are better than this. Don’t make excuses for your team. So Perk would have had a bigger impact than Rasheed? Really? Did Doc actually watch game seven? Rasheed gave Boston much more quality minutes than Perkins would have given them. You want to know why Boston lost? Kevin Garnett’s three rebounds. In a series where every game was won by the team that got the most rebounds your starting power forward only pulled down three boards. That starting five talk is just an excuse.

  15. Cannon510 - Aug 23, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    I wish Doc would stop saying crap like that, it makes him sounds like an idiot. Injuries are part of the game, especially with an older team.
    It’s strange that he keeps bringing up the starters. I think the starters in the 2008 and 2010 finals played each other pretty much to a draw, it was the benches that made the biggest difference.

  16. T. Rogers - Aug 23, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    You also won most of them when there were eight teams in the league. Any title post-1980 is MUCH more impressive. For many Celtic fans that title in 2008 was the first one if their lifetimes.

  17. Onetrack - Aug 23, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    You haven’t beaten our starting 5 either genius, do you not remember 08…No Bynum, duh. This guy would of have been out of the league years ago if he wasn’t gifted 2 superstars.

  18. Tone - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    Doc,
    You still haven’t beat our starting 5. Guess you forgot about 2008.
    Go Lakers!

  19. hnirobert - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    When is Bynum EVER healthy?

  20. Beat It Up - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Everyone just chill. Doc can say whatever he wants but in the end he has to suck on kobe’s ring bedecked thumb.

  21. nivek - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    What does it matter DOC! It says Lakers are the 2010 NBA Champs
    Not: they did not beat your old starting 5.You should have injoyed the season because you will not be in the running next
    season.

  22. danny - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    As a Lakers fan, I’ve got no problem with what Doc says. He’s obligated to put his team in the most positive light. I’m hoping, and I believe we’ll get the Lakers and Celtics for the third straight time for the rubber match. Let’s do it one more time.

  23. loungefly - Aug 23, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Doc, you are in a losing battle. dude, you are losing mass credibility quick. classic “poor sport” behavior. You got beat…take it like a man.

  24. Bill-Sonora - Aug 23, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    NEITHER HAVE THE CELTICS YOU DUMBASS!
    ANDREW BYNUM WAS HURT IN ’08!
    WHAT AN IDIOT!

  25. Drew - Aug 23, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    While I think Rivers’ pitch that the Celtics would’ve won IF Perkins was playing in Game 7 is a bit overblown, I also think “the Lakers would’ve closed it out in five with a healthy Bynum” is equally absurd. First of all, Boston beat LA in Game 2 when Bynum was the best player on the floor for the Lakers. Second of all, you really think the Lakers would’ve won three straight in Boston? Third, Boston was a few bounces away from winning in five games. I think the series would’ve played out exactly as it did with either team having equal claim to winning it all and the series going seven tough games. Get over it Laker fans and Doc Rivers. The two teams were almost dead even.

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