LOS ANGELES -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers took a lighthearted approach to the NBA's docking him $15,000 for failure to leave the court in a timely manner after being ejected in Friday's loss in Phoenix.
"I just told my last son [Spencer, a high school freshman] that’s he’s going to have to get a scholarship," joked Rivers. "The other three [children, Jeremiah, Callie, and Austin] did, so he's just going to have to get to work."
Turning more serious, Rivers said he wasn't surprised by the fine and acknowledged he didn't depart in a timely manner. But, truth be told, he doesn't even know what constitutes a timely manner and proposed a gimmick for the NBA to adopt after ejections.
"My proposal is: Give us a 30-second clock," said Rivers. "When a coach gets thrown out of the game, they should start the clock and give you 30 seconds to vent. That would be terrific. I think the crowd would get into that."
And Rivers said he ultimately has no problem with the fine: "The low numbers tells you they didn’t think it was anything awful. So I’m good with it."
As for Kevin Garnett, who earned two technicals fouls and an ejection for a dust-up with Phoenix's Channing Frye in the fourth quarter of Friday's game, Rivers said he should appeal the technicals, but said Garnett might simply be beyond the issue at this point.
Rivers also sounded off about the notion that Garnett took a cheap low blow at Frye, who got tapped below the belt while following through on an errant 3-point attempt.
"Watch the game tonight, you’ll see 10 guys poked in the stomach [being boxed out]," said Rivers. "A guy jumps and it hits you in wrong place -- it just happens, it's not a big deal."
Elsewhere before Sunday's showdown:
* The Celtics planned to start Shaquille O'Neal at center, not allowing themselves to get caught up in the symbolism of trotting out the familiar starting 5 in their first trip back to the Staples Center since Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Kendrick Perkins will remain in a reserve role in order to watch his minutes. That said, O'Neal picked up two fouls in 93 seconds Friday night against the Suns and Perkins was a quick entrant, joining his familiar floormates.
* Glen Davis tested the right hamstring he tweaked in Friday's loss before Sunday's game and was hoping to get the OK from team doctors to play, but Rivers acknowledged that Boston's sixth man might not be able to go. "It takes another body off the floor," Rivers said when asked about what Davis' loss would mean. "We've pretty much got accustomed to that. We would have to make a decision, depending on who [the Lakers] have on the floor. Do you go with two bigs at same time? I prefer not to ever do that. Or go small, with [Lamar Odom on the floor], which we don’t want to do, either, but we may be forced."
* Lakers special assistant Craig Hodges spent part of the pregame watching Ray Allen warm up beyond the arc at the other end of the floor. Despite the hopes of some courtside, an impromptu 3-point contest between two of the best long-distance shooters in NBA history did not break out.
* Rivers on what's plagued his team lately: "We’re not playing with any speed and we're not playing with any force... That’s on the whole team. We showed them that, it happens at times. But rarely does it happen two times in a row. It has, and we play the Lakers tonight, so we have to fix that."