A BUSY 48 HOURS FOR CELTICS
When the Celtics got back to their locker room following Saturday night's Game 7 triumph over the 76ers, an encyclopedia-thick playbook previewing the Miami Heat was waiting on each chair. As Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked, "I don't know if they opened them," but the message was clear: It's a quick turnaround and there was little time to savor the end of that series.
And while Rivers acknowledged that a little time off might not have been a bad thing, the Celtics are content to dive right in versus Miami.
"I like the rest, but I like to play," said Rivers. "We just want to keep playing -- that’s the whole key. At the end of the day, that’s more important. The other option is going home and not doing anything. In our minds, let’s just keep playing."
COULD WE SEE MORE PIETRUS THAN ALLEN?
With Ray Allen still fighting through right ankle woes, there's a line of thought that suggests maybe Boston would be better off utilizing more Mickael Pietrus this round in order to beef up defense against Dwyane Wade. Rivers shot down the notion heading into Game 1.
"No, we’re going to stay the way we are," he said.
Rivers said he thought Allen's shot looked like it was improving, particularly after hitting two key fourth-quarter 3-points in Game 7 against the 76ers ("I do think he’s getting more and more comfortable with his shot. Obviously, we’re going to need it in this series," he said). But Rivers also admitted that managing Allen is a minute-to-minute proposition.
"We don’t know game to game with him, we don’t know how he’s feeling, then we don’t know how he’s going to deal with it during the game," said Rivers. "The way we coached him so far, is with the eye -- that’s how we have to coach him. We have to watch him. If we feel like he’s moving enough to help us, we keep him on the floor. If he’s not moving enough, then we take him off the floor. Then the second decision is, do we put him back on the floor? It’s every game -- in Game 7, the argument our staff was having, ‘Take him off, take him out, bring him in.’ Honestly, it’s just luck sometimes. We left him in and he made two 3s. But the hook was close, I can tell you that."
NEXT STEP FOR BOSH
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra clarified that Chris Bosh's return to activity Sunday was simply a "progression" in his rehab.
"It was more of a progression of a rehab than it was a basketball workout, but I can see how it would be interpreted differently," said Spoelstra, while admitting it was an encouraging sign. "I wouldn’t over-read into his workout yesterday. We’ll continue to reevaluate every day. He’ll continue to do his rehab. When he starts legitimate basketball work I’ll pay attention a little bit more."
While Celtics captain Paul Pierce said he welcomes the challenge of facing the Heat with all of their top guys if Bosh is able to return, Rivers noted that the Heat are still plenty dangerous without him.
"Obviously Bosh makes them better, in some ways, you can say they are more dangerous," said Rivers. "Those 15 shots that Bosh had, they are going to (Dwyane) Wade and LeBron (James). In some ways, they have the ball more, they are more aggressive, it almost activated them to be more aggressive. Which puts a lot of stress on the defense."
CELTICS AS UNDERDOGS?
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked if he relished the opportunity to be a rare underdog in this series.
"I never look at it that way," said Rivers. "But the answer would be, ‘I don’t know.’ We don’t look at ourselves as anything but combatants. We tell our guys, 'You can call us what want, but we’re going to come play, regardless.' That’s the way we look at ourselves. How everybody else looks at us, that’s up to them."
Asked later to explain the Celtics' pride given all the adversity they've faced, Rivers said he wasn't sure he could put it in proper perspective.
"We have a lot of (pride), and we should have a lot of it," said Rivers. "This team, they like each other. And I think when you like each other, you tend to pull for each other and you play harder."