Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Kevin Garnett will be key for Boston in the Eastern Conference finals.MIAMI -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that the absence of Miami big man Chris Bosh will not affect how Boston game plans for the Eastern Conference finals.
After Kevin Garnett was key to Boston's conference semifinal triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers -- and has the best plus/minus of any player in the league this postseason -- Rivers was going to have his team force feed Garnett the ball this series, regardless of who was on the court.
"If Bosh played, or didn’t play, I don’t think it’s going to change the way we play. You know what I’m saying?" said Rivers. "We’re going to go to Kevin. We were going to go to him if Bosh played, we were going to him if Bosh didn’t play. And that not’s going to change. What may change is the way they try to defend (Garnett) because there’s no Bosh. We have to be prepared for that. I’m sure they are going to front a lot, that’s what they've done throughout the other series. Every team has tried to do that with Kevin anyway, so I don’t think that much will change."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said everyone -- besides Bosh -- is ready to go for Monday's Game 1 at AmericanAirlines Arena and there are "no surprises with the starting lineup."
Pressed on Bosh, Spoelstra noted he was able to do, "a little bit more. Nothing on the court so far. We're all very pleased with the progress he is making, considering where he was walking off -- you think the worst. Seeing him like he is right now is significant progress, but his return is still indefinite."
A couple more pregame quick hits:
* Spoelstra offered high praise for Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. "Rondo is a basketball maestro," he said. "He is one of the most unique players I've see in this league. Part of his greatness is his utter unpredictability. He has great timing with his play; he knows the moment. He knows what his team needs the most in that moment. We understand how he is the motor for that team. We have to step up to the challenge."
* Doc Rivers on the quick turnaround for Game 1: "I told them it was a regular-season game, except it was the playoffs," he said with a laugh. "Really, that’s what it is. We had one day off, it’s not like we’ve haven't done this all year... We've played these type of games all the time. That’s how we have to approach that."