Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Pregame: Spoelstra talks C's changes
By Chris Forsberg
MIAMI -- A quiet pregame scene at AmericanAirlines Arena before the Celtics and Heat battle. A few quick nuggets:
* Celtics coach Doc Rivers said his team is at full strength (sans recovering Mickael Pietrus), but that Marquis Daniels is battling a cold. Down the hall, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, "Everybody is ready to go; Dwyane [Wade] is playing."
* Rivers admitted that it's a game-to-game situation with Keyon Dooling with shorter rotations and Ray Allen back on the floor. Even still, he praised Dooling's professionalism despite his lack of minutes lately.
* Spoelstra offered his take on the challenges the Celtics present with Kevin Garnett at center and Avery Bradley shuffling into the starting rotation in place of Allen: "It has changed the dynamics of their offense. Their defense has been as consistent as any defense has been in the league for the last four years. Right now they have the top-rated defense and they have veteran guys who understand how much that impacts the game. Offensively, with Garnett at the 5, it inverts their offense so that now both their bigs are shooters and it allows more room for [Rajon] Rondo and [Avery] Bradley to cut, [Paul] Pierce to post, and the paint is a little more open. Obviously, you have a Hall of Famer coming off the bench that could go for 25 or 30 [points] or any given night. They are healthy right now, they are in shape, and this should be a good game tonight."
* Rivers expanded on the notion of inverting the offense: "It clearly makes us more difficult to gang up on and guard us when you have two shooting bigs. Most teams have one and the other guys is rebounding and stuff. To have two guys that can stretch the floor, it allows you to do more things offensively. Then I think the defensive part of our team, we’ve been good all year, but since the break, we’ve been really good and that’s who we are, at the end of the day."
* Tonight starts a stretch of five games in six days for Boston. The Celtics will see the Heat again on April 24 in Boston, but will play seven games in a 10-day span before that happens. The one good thing for Boston, there's a whopping three days of rest (April 21-23) before the Miami game. The regular-season ends two nights later with a visit from the Milwaukee Bucks.