Quick hits following Celtics head coach Doc Rivers' appearance on ESPN Radio's SVP & Russillo show Thursday (to listen to the interview, click HERE):
On why the Celtics have played so well (13-4) without Rajon Rondo: "Well I thought we were playing better right before he went out. I actually made that statement. What's funny is we were in the middle of a losing streak and I went out to the media and said, 'I know this sounds crazy, but I think we're about to turn the corner.' Avery was just coming back and we forget Avery missed the first 30 games of our season; Jeff Green missed all of last year, so he was starting to come into shape; Jason Terry's a new player on our team. We just had a lot of moving parts and we were just starting to get it together.
"So, I thought we were about to trend and then we lose Rondo and [Jared] Sullinger, which hurt us as well. But our team kept going. We clearly miss a lot of things without Rondo, especially end-of-the-game situations being one of them. We have to be more creative. But our guys have hung in there and we have two pretty good players. Kevin Garnett's not bad and neither is Paul Pierce. And having those two guys to kind of hold the fort together has been huge for us."
On advancing the ball more without Rondo: "I just know that our guys look for him because they want him to have the ball, and sometimes they probably could have thrown the ball ahead. I'm a big believer in the advance pass and there were times, yeah, I think our bigs, especially, instead of just advancing it up the floor, would wait to get it back to Rondo. Now, because we really don't have a primary ball handler. I've talked to a couple of guys that we've faced, coaching-wise, and they said, 'That's the most difficult thing now.' They're not sure where the heck the ball's going to be. It's funny, I was telling one of my friends, who's a coach in the league, 'I don't either.' We just advance it and we spread it and we move it and we try to let the ball find the open guy. Because, quite honestly, we don't have a guy good enough anymore who can just handle the ball and run the show. So why fight it? And we haven't."
On how long it's been since the NBA has seen a defender like Avery Bradley: "It's been a long time. I know there's been someone else since Scottie Pippen, but I really can't think of him, and I know there has been, I'm just not giving it enough thought. But he does it night-in and night-out, and even when he's guarding a guy that's not a scorer, but he's guarding the ball, what he's done for us is allow us to play defense at shorter times. I think our average now, since Avery's been back, is teams are getting into their offense -- and that means making the first pass to start the play -- at 10 seconds and 12 seconds. To have to just play defense for 12 seconds compared to 18 and 20 seconds just makes a huge difference in our defense. And when you look at our numbers since he's been back, I think we were 23rd defensively and now we're down to ninth or seventh, which means we're really one or two if you just go on the average since he's been back. It's made a huge difference."
On the league-wide struggles on the road: "Well I think a lot of teams are better, number one. It's funny, as a player, I loved the road, because I just loved the silence of the crowd when you win there. I know that was just what I enjoyed. But it does take you out of your norm, out of your comfort zone. And the more new players and the more role players you have, the more difficult it is to win on the road. The more stars you have, the more guys who are great on the night-in and night-out basis, the better you are on the road. I thought with all the changes we made -- early on we were really struggling on the road, now I think we're starting to find ourselves a little bit."