Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Pregame: Calm before the Game 3 storm
By Chris Forsberg
PHILADELPHIA -- A quiet pregame at Wells Fargo Center before Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. A few quick nuggets:
* Doc Rivers confirmed everyone remains ready to go for the Celtics. There are no changes to the posted starting lineup, though it will be interesting to see how Boston tweaks its offense. Earlier in the day, Rivers noted the team would consider using Paul Pierce in more of a Ray Allen-like role off screens and pindowns hoping to free him up for more quality looks while he continues to play through the pain of a strained left knee that's clearly left him a half-step slow.
* Rivers talked about the perils of trying to match Philadelphia's smaller lineups: "They have a lot of guys that can take you off the dribble," Rivers said. "When we go small, we’re doing some switching and you know I’m not a big fan of switching. We’ve been left with some matchups that we really don’t like, but because we switch -- because of the small lineup -- it kind of hurts us. We didn’t do a good job (in Game 2). Listen, both teams were pretty pathetic for three quarters offensively. Then both teams scored in the fourth. For us, at least, and I’m sure for them as well, that’s the quarter you have to be the best defensively in. And neither team was."
* Rivers joked that he was unaware that he had been named to the league's rebranded competition committee until he opened an email from the league. "It was pretty funny. I just happened to open the email -- I don't usually open my email during the playoffs -- but I just happened to read it," said Rivers, who then saw his name included among the three coaches appointed. "I said, 'Oh, OK.'" Rivers stressed that he's up for the task. "I take it seriously, I do," he said. "I think all the guys who are on it love the league. And they want the league to do well, to have an impact, that would be great."
* Asked if he thought Mickael Pietrus might be skittish playing his first game back at Wells Fargo since sustaining a scary grade III concussion in March, Rivers doubted there will be any lingering mental roadblocks. "Honestly everybody’s different, so I have no idea, I really don’t," he said. "Some people would, some people they don’t even think about it. My guess with Pietrus, I’m going to say no, it’ll have zero effect on him. He’s pretty tough."