All-Star 2011: Rest for the weary

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LOS ANGELES -- Despite all the hype leading up to Saturday's 3-point contest, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he won't even be near the arena for the NBA All-Star Saturday Night festivities.

In fact, Rivers has already made reservations to take his entire coaching staff out for dinner, a chance to kick back with his assistants and revel, even if just momentarily, in what the team has accomplished to this point.

"I'm taking my coaches out tonight, other than that, I'll sleep," Rivers said after Saturday's All-Star practice. He admitted he'll miss out on the much-ballyhooed Paul Pierce vs. Ray Allen showdown, but isn't fretting it much.

"Yeah, I'm going to miss that. But I figure I'll find out who wins soon enough."

After a obligation-filled Friday, Rivers admitted he turned in early, favoring sleep over the party scene that most descend on All-Star weekend to engage in. On Saturday, Rivers took center stage as the Eastern and Western Conference All-Stars held a 75-minute practice session in front of fans at Jam Session's Center Court inside the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Rivers was all over the floor, cracking jokes with both sides, and setting up shooting contests between the two teams. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, helmsman of the West and a close confidante of Rivers, seemed more than happy to allow Rivers and his Celtics staff to take control of the festivities.

The East and West squads spent no more than 15 minutes going over basic sets they'll utilize during Sunday's game. Rivers joked throughout the proceedings that the East would use the Heat's playbook and encouraged the triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh to divulge their sets.

Celtics captain Paul Pierce said he hopes Rivers simply rolls the ball out on the floor Sunday.

"We have enough good players, we don't have to call any plays," said Pierce.


As the practice opened, Rivers wandered over towards the West stars and told Denver's Carmelo Anthony to go stand at midcourt because, "we don't know if he'll be on the East or West."

The drama surrounding the pursuit of Anthony, both by the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets, has dominated All-Star weekend thus far. Not only did Anthony draw a huge media scrum after the session, but New York's Amare Stoudemire had an overflow crowd trying to gauge his thoughts on the process as well.

Rivers kept the mood light.

"I think somebody's a double agent," he said after the session. "I was saying that, at halftime [on Sunday, Anthony] should switch teams and go play for the East."

Asked if he had any thoughts on Anthony potentially ending up in the Atlantic Division (and, specifically, the Knicks).

"None that I like," quipped Rivers. "It'll make them very good. They'll be terrific."


* Rivers said he still hadn't made up his mind about who would play alongside the Celtics' four reserves during Sunday's game, but it was Miami's Chris Bosh that filled that role as the East went through sets.

"I really still don't know," said Rivers. "I'm definitely going to put all four of my guys in at same time, because that’ll be fun. But I'm not sure yet on the other. I know we'll get a nice big round of applause from [the Los Angeles crowd]. It's beautiful, we love it."

* The 2012 All-Star game will be held in Rivers' hometown of Orlando, which made him quite pleased.

"I love it for a lot of reasons," said Rivers. "No. 1, I can't coach it next year. No. 2, it's in Orlando, so I'll be home. It's the perfect place. The weather will be terrific -- I shouldn't say that, but it will be. And with the new arena, it'll be a great fit."

* Asked if he ever gets caught looking over his shoulder, Rivers said he's not one for rear-view mirrors.

"I never look over my shoulder, I just look at our team," he said. "There's a lot of teams behind us. Some of them are on our heels, but that's the way it should be. It's going to be tough. The East is going to be very difficult."