"Well, we'll trap the guy coming off the pick, whoever that will be," Rivers joked when asked what adjustments his team will make. "We don't change as much as people think from game to game, defensively. We throw some wrinkles, but that's about it. We are who we are and, when we're good at it, we're a good defensive team. And when we're bad at it, it doesn't matter who we're playing, we're a bad defensive team."
Even with both Durant and Jeff Green out of the lineup, Rivers said he shouldn't have to remind his team to not take the Thunder lightly.
"If I don't, [the Thunder] will," said Rivers. "They'll know pretty quickly. If you have to remind your guys to be ready to play, then you have more issues than you need to know, at least on that given night."
Durant warmed up at the Garden and initially suggested he'd play in Friday's game. But after getting treatment in the locker room, he reversed course and media relations announced he was sitting out a little less than an hour before tip-off.
"We’re not going to put him in a position to limit himself or set him back," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said before the decision was made. "If he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. Right now, we don’t know.... that's not just coachspeak either; We're not trying to intimidate Doc or anything."
A couple other quick hits from pregame:
* Rivers said there is no update on center Jermaine O'Neal (left knee soreness), sticking with the 2-3 week absence offered earlier this week. "There's no change since the last one we gave and whatever time period that was," said Rivers, who often notes how he defers to the medical staff in these situations. "I don't talk about it, I really don't. I try to stay away from the whole injury thing when players are injured. The last thing they need is the coach on them about injuries. I always talk to them about the [Chicago] Bears from '73, stuff like that."
* Rivers admitted that O'Neal's absence does leave him feeling a little uneasy. "There's a fear, too, because you know with him out, and [Shaquille O'Neal] being his age and [rookie center] Semih [Erden] with his shoulder [injury], you feel like -- at least I have the last three or four games -- that you're playing on a thin sheet of ice. There may be a game that we have no centers in it. That could be soon. You just don't know."