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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. Anonymous - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    your a smart person and who cares who was injured and who wasn’t it still was a heck of a series.

  2. jojo - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    no Artest first meeting. what a d bag. i did like Doc but this is sore loser whiny crap like most of what America has become…

  3. jojo - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Artest not on Lakers 2008. so his statement is stupid. not to mention:
    the starters who played game seven were the STARTERS. you cant START if you are hurt.
    what a dbag.

  4. loungefly - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Yeah it was NEAR dead even BUT the Lakers won. Your “few bounces away” comment is questionable. It’s a theory not fact. I could say than “the Lakers would have swept if they got a few more shots to go in.” Take into account the Lakers blew out the Celts 2 of the 4 wins. The Celts gave the Lakers a run more their money but fell short..hence they lost. About injuries? They happen…play through…teams suck it up. I think most people on this comment section are saying that to Doc. Get over it? Get over what? We won. Back 2 back. nothing to get over but celebrate dude. Go Lakers.

  5. Drew - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    “We” won?? Were you part of the Lakers organization? From what I hear and read on these forums, there’s an awful lot of bitterness against Celtic fans despite winning. Celtic fans have their own bitterness issues. I don’t see how my “few bounces away” comment was questionable. Game 3 could’ve gone either way and it took some incredibly tough shots from Derek Fisher down the stretch and Ray Allen going 0-13 to do it. How often does that happen? The Celtics went on to completely control the next two games. This isn’t an argument that the Celtics were better, I’m just stating the fact that these two teams were incredibly evenly matched. And the big “IF” here is if Boston HAD closed it out in five, what would we be saying now? Would they still be “old” or would they be “experienced”? Would a healthy Bynum have won the series? Would we say the Lakers got pushed around like they did in 2008? A few bounces of the ball change everything. Laker fans talk like there was never any doubt even though the Celtics led the entire way in Game 7 until the last 6 or 7 minutes.
    The “get over it” comment also pertains to Laker fans saying “Well, if Bynum was healthy…” Bynum was effective in the first two games, one of which the Celtics won. The Laker bigs were MIA in the next three games in Boston and LA was dominated for two of them. That includes Gasol and Odom doing almost nothing in Games 3, 4, and 5. Would Bynum have been the difference maker in those games? I’m skeptical. So, yes, Laker fans need to get over it just like Doc needs to.

  6. Lin - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    You are so right. The losing team in a series always plays “what if.” Injuries, bad breaks, good luck all contribute to winning or losing a series. We Laker fans played it in 2008. It’s Boston’s turn this year.

  7. j_d_hastings - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    I’m a Laker fan and support this line of reasoning. If any injured team gets to claim victory regardless of other factors, the Lakers win in 2008 (Bynum injured!), 2004 (Karl Malone injured!), 1989 (Magic and Byron Scott injured!). Unfortunately, by this measure Houston has won the chip the last several years, so we’ll have to establish some sort of title sharing agreement to… oh wait, Portland is on the line. They want in. Milwaukee too.
    Maybe what Doc is asking for is a special NBA rule that says that the Celtics aren’t aloud to face the exact same adversity as every other team faces every year. Would that shut his whining up?

  8. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    You pathetic Laker fans are always whining about “if Bynum was
    heatlhy”. Is Bynum ever healthy? Face it. Bynum
    is a fragile big man that is always going to be hurt.
    Perkins is usually healthy and if he had not been brought
    down in game six then Boston would have won the series.
    The Lakers were lucky to barely escape with a championship.
    You won’t be so lucky next June.

  9. Matt - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    Honestly, the whole “our starting five has never lost” crap didn’t bother me when Doc used it as a rallying point during the Celtic’s surprise 2010 playoff run. But for him to keep on with it in the months after the Laker championship (he said something to the same effect right after Game 7 as I remember) is truly lame. I’d be embarrassed if I were a Celtics fan.
    Laker fans pointing to 2008 and Bynum/Ariza are right on the money. But then again we have the “Healthy Bynum” oxymoron.
    #14 really hit the nail on the head. The Perkins injury didn’t mean nearly that much given the superb minutes Rasheed played in the final game. Perkins wasn’t that effective throughout the series, and never made a huge impact rebounding (check the stats).
    What I’ve yet to hear anyone talk about is that the Celtics didn’t really lose because of Laker offensive boards. The Lakers made up the majority of the RB disparity in the first half. The Celtics overcame this and were able to take the 13 point lead in the 3rd. Yet the Celtics were done in because of their terrible offense late in the game, an area that Perkins simply would not have helped.

  10. Omnius - Aug 24, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Doc Rivers has selective amnesia if he’s forgotten that the Lakers won the championship two months ago. He needs to stop whining about Perkins being injured for one game, Bynum was injured the whole series as was Kobe. Just another sorry excuse from a perennial loser. I hope that the aged Celtics can make it past the Heatsroke next year so the Repeat World Champion Lakers can Threepeat and tie Boston with 17 championships by whipping the Celtics for the second time in three tries.

  11. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Another (Omnius) pathetic Laker fan whining about Bynum’s injury/injuries. Bynum will be competing with Greg Oden and Tracy McGrady for ‘Broke Dick of the Year’ this season.
    Get over it. He is and always will be injured.
    The Lakers are not invincible. Remember they just barely
    won on their home court? Might not pull off next year.

  12. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Predictions for the 2010-2011 season:
    Laker fans will continue to whine about “Broke Knee Bynum”
    throughout the regular season, complaining that if Bynum was
    healthy they would be the best team in the universe.
    The “Heatstrokers” will become the “Heatchokers” in the playoffs
    and will lose to the Celtics. LeBron will walk off the court
    like a baby again without shaking hands.
    The Lakers will barely get out of the Western Conference and
    meet the Celtics for a best out of three.
    Kobe “unlike Mike” Byrant will whine about every call that does
    not go his way and Phil Jackson will have an accident in his pants
    on national television. The Celtics will put the Lakers
    back into their rightful place – which is 2nd place.

  13. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    What! No retort from a Laker fan?
    You guys are a bunch of wussies!
    Just like your team!
    Oh, and I forgot a couple. Pau Gasol will
    continue to stumble all over the floor
    in the paint and get away with mutliple
    traveling violations.
    The officials will kiss Kobe’s shoes and
    ignore Gasol’s stumbling/traveling.
    Shaq will talk trash about beating Kobe.

  14. bballfan - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    mcdaddy its obvious your a whiny celtics fan, with delusions of grandeur, i for one am not a lakers fan nor am i a celtics fan, i like basketball period. your predictions are as assinine as the statements doc rivers made, have you ever had your knees damaged, your probably an arm chair athlete before you bash any pro sprts figure try running in thier shoesand as for your comment on whining dude seriously paul pierce is the biggest foul whiner in the NBA, oh and as for gm 7 uhm the celtics only had 1 good quarter the lakers outplayed them in all 3 of the other quarters check the stats you putz, i am not defending nor or am i castrating the lakers or celtics they both played hard and left everything on the floor, if either team is in the finals i would still go with the lakers they have a younger and stronger line up but with the addition of j oneill and shaq the paint is gonna be very tight i do agree bynum is forever hurt but hey i seriously doubt perkins is gonna come back strong from the knee damage so they will depend on the o’niels to come thru

  15. Celtic Brian - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Looks like Laker fan is reeling from a simple competitive comment. Doc’s a moron? What else is he going to say. It’s true? At the same rate Doc is not going to provide the message for his team that they have no hope of winning. That’s why he came back. UMBUTU baby. He’s motivating the team…that’s all. If he’s a moron for doing that…then let me go on a further stretch. Kobe not showing up in game 7 makes the Celts look really bad because it was the starting 4 that beat them that night…Kobe undoubtedly had what appeared to be the worst playoff game of hs entire career. Celts have a chance…keep looking through your rearview mirror Laker fan. Cuz I can gurantee you all it will not be the flamers of Miami…but definite shades of that so called ugly green.

  16. bballfan - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    celtic brian i applaud you finally a celtic fan that isnt blinded by the green as i said im not celtic or laker fan i enjoy basketball, the reason i called doc a moron is because he made lite of a great series and a great gm 7 lets stop making excuses and just applaud them for giving us one of the best finals in nba history, dotn blame injury for a win or a loss there are other players on a team and it isnt 1 person that wins a game it is the team period if someone goes down then the others need to step up as you said kobe had his worst playoff game ever and others stepped up to back him up kendrick was down rasheed stepped in and played great so what is doc not giving sheed credit for playing injured and still playing with the heart of a champion. it was the way he said it that they werent at full strength and as i said niether were the lakers. so the point was moot

  17. jblakers42 - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    awww DOC…..cmon man,
    if BYNUM would have been fully healthy, the LAKERS would have beat the CELTICS in 5 games…….game 4 is a prime example, does anyone think that GLEN DAVIS (although I think he’s solid) would have dominated the pain like he did if BYNUM was able to fully play….
    ain’t no way in high heaven he would…..and it wasn’t like BOSTON blew us out in that game, it came down to the last few minutes, same for game 5……if BYNUM is 100%, we take both those games or at the worst, absolute worse, we got back to LA up 3-2….
    but we’ll be even stronger this year w/the upgrading of our bench, the inconsistency of our bench the past two seasons, especially last season, forced our starters to play extended minutes during the regular season, which led players such as KOBE more susceptable to injury….and other teams knew the only way they had a chance to beat us was to take advantage of our bench, but now that won’t be a problem and we’ll see another level of play that LAKERS will unleash on the league this year……
    KOBE will get ring #6, tying him w/alpha and omega of the nba (JORDAN)…lolll
    GO LAKERS…can’t wait til 10/26/10, opening night, championship banner #16 hoisted above those rafters….

  18. Anonymous - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    agreed. These Boston fans need to stop chirping. They lost. get over it.

  19. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    It is called humor you moron. You are an ass for calling
    my “predictions” assinine. Armchair athlete? I used to
    be a pretty good basketball player in my younger days joker,
    and yes, I have hurt my knees playing. Don’t feel too obligated
    to defend the great professional athletes from average Joes like
    me. They make a lot of money and they are big boys – they can
    handle it. I was making fun of guys like you who take sports way too seriously. And is my predicting a Boston – L. A. finals really assinine? I would say the odds of that happening again are pretty damn good.
    I was trying to have a little fun with the Laker fans. Not
    get into a moronic discussion with a hateful loser like you.
    Get a life.!

  20. Mike - Aug 24, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Response for McDaddy OH MY GOD!! You can’t be serious! The Celtics take old to an all new level. Adding McShaqasaur and Jermaine noknees O’Neal only compounds the problem. The Celtics are so old that some of them actually played with Dr.Naismith and peach baskets! And as far as crying goes, what about Paul Pussy Pierce? Oh he’s down, there’s blood everywhere, get the stretcher(again)! No, wait! They’ve patched him up with a feminine hygiene product, it’s only his time of the month. It’s a miracle! All kidding aside, did you see the look on his face in game one when RonRon threw him to the floor? I think he soiled himself!!! He didn’t play worth a crap for the rest of the game. And don’t forget the original crybaby Danny Ainge. As a longtime Laker fan, I’ll never forget the looks on Ainge’s face when calls didn’t go his way. Look up crybaby in the dictionary and you will see one of Danny’s faces next to the definition. Get real McDaddy, the Celtics are in need of an odd combination of diapers and Geritol. LAKERS RULE!

  21. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    LOL!! Thank you Mike. It is good to hear from a Laker fan with
    a sense of humor! I finally got a laugh for the day!
    Well said and points taken. McShaqasaur is a good one and probably right on the money. And he is an ex-Laker. Pierce is a crybaby, but he can’t help it – he played for KU.
    Next June will be fun if they play one more time. We can only hope.
    Winner take all!

  22. Ice Tbone - Aug 24, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Laker win! That’s what i remember. Laker win! 2010 champs1

  23. Mike - Aug 24, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    McDaddy As a lifelone Lakers fan, I’m thrilled that the Lakers and Celtics are championship caliber teams at the same time again. Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses, but I’m hoping for a Lakers Celtics rematch in the finals again this year. The Celtics are a more than worthy opponent, and with a few more favorable bounces would be reigning champions. Good luck and hope to see you in June!

  24. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Really Ice Tbonehead! The Lakers won? Thanks for your poignant
    thought. Except no one cares what you remember. Nor does anyone
    care about your link to poker supplies. Get lost.

  25. McDaddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    I have been a life long Celtic fan and used to go crazy during
    the Laker – Celtic battles during the 1980s. I had missed those
    days for a long time until 2008. I totally agree, both teams
    are worthy opponents for each other. And I have to admit the
    Lakers are going to be extremely difficult to beat with the additions of Barnes and Blake. Good luck to you and all Lakers
    and see you in June. Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!

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