Sunday, June 3, 2012
Pregame: A little Tiger talk?
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers, noted golf junkie, didn't mind fielding a pregame query on Tiger Woods and his improbable chip-in birdie on 16 that propelled him to victory Sunday at the Memorial.
"It was unbelievable," Rivers said during his pregame chat with reporters before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at TD Garden. "I was watching. I was trying to leave my house to get here. It delayed me for a couple minutes. That’s fun; that’s really cool."
Buried in deep rough, Woods flopped in a birdie on 16 that pushed him to his 73rd career victory, which ties him with Jack Nicklaus for career PGA Tour wins.
The chatter quickly switched back to hoops, though there wasn't much of note from pregame access. Like with most games in this series, storylines seem exhausted during the off day and everyone seems ready for more basketball -- media, coaches, and players alike.
As for that actual basketball chatter:
* Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was at the podium just long enough to confirm that "everybody's ready to go." When reporters instinctively asked if that meant Chris Bosh was returning in Game 4 -- this after being ruled out at shootaround -- Spoelstra was forced to clarify. "Not Chris. Do I have to start off every presser with that? OK, nothing has changed from this morning."
* Miami made one small lineup tweak: Joel Anthony starts at center instead of Ronny Turiaf.
* Spoelstra did field one basketball question on Miami's ability to produce transition baskets off of Boston makes. The Celtics were able to prevent those in the second half of Friday's Game 3 victory. "We want to push," said Spoelstra. "Any time we have an opportunity, if we can get it to one of our attackers -- it's not a primary emphasis, but we've done that when we can during the season. If it happens where we can get out quick to one of them, we want to push. That's certainly the pace we want to get. We can't sustain that if we're playing off of makes the entire time. That was the tough part about the other night... We were playing out of the net the entire night. And that has never been a successful formula for us. Even when you try to push the tempo, it's not sustainable."
* Explaining his decision to go with Marquis Daniels in Game 3, Rivers admitted the team had been pondering the idea of adding a player to the rotation, but were simply slow to pull the trigger. Rivers said it was "more for rest than anything else," but Daniels provided a key bench spark that aided Boston's triumph.