Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Doc: C's headed in right direction
By Greg Payne
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers continued to stress the positives he's seeing from his team as he welcomed Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry all back to practice Tuesday, and prepared to have Rajon Rondo return to the lineup Wednesday following a two-game suspension.
"Overall, the last two games, I like where we're at," said Rivers. "But we've got to continue to do it. We've yet to be consistent, in my opinion. You can be consistent and lose a game, and I think Milwaukee was an example of that. I thought we played with the right spirit, but we just have to have that consistent effort."
Rivers said his three older veterans needed the extra day off, though both Pierce and Terry found time to get into the gym in the morning.
"Well, Jason and Paul came for sure and worked out," Rivers said. "They were here early. I mean, I think they were here at 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning, and both had sweats, and left before practice started. They needed that. I thought that was good for them as well."
Rivers said he'll obviously be pleased to have Rondo back in the lineup on Wednesday, but did stress that he was able to take several positives out of his point guard's time away.
"Well, I though the ball movement was better in some ways, but I don't know if it was smarter, necessarily," said Rivers. "You still want the ball in Rondo's hands. But I thought it allowed other guys to understand how important that is. And I think they saw that. There's always a positive in any negative, and you knew something good was going to happen. You knew more bad, not having him. But, overall, you can always get something out of it. When Kevin misses a game, Paul, you have to find something."
Read on for more notes from Tuesday's session, including Barbosa questionable for Wednesday's game, Rivers doesn't want to jump in Rondo's head, and high praise for Minnesota bigs.
* Leandro Barbosa missed practice for the second straight day due to illness, and Rivers said his status is uncertain for Wednesday's game against the Timberwolves. "I don't know, really. I have no idea," Rivers said when asked if Barbosa would play.
* Rondo said he didn't learn any lessons from his two-game suspension, but Rivers did offer what he referred to as the "obvious lesson."
"I don't want to get into [Rondo's] head," Rivers said. "I think the obvious lesson that you all know is that he can't miss games. So, the way he can't miss games is he has to control his emotions better. But, that's me saying that. That means nothing."
* Rivers elaborated on his decision to hand Monday's practice over to his assistant coaches and observe from the sideline. He said it's a strategy he employs more often than people realize.
"It's just good. They need to hear other voices sometimes," Rivers said. "I got involved, still, but for the most part, we organized practice, they know what we're doing. I think it's good to hear different voices."
* Rivers also offered high praise for Minnesota's Kevin Love, calling him one of the "best rebounders of our era."
"I know that's saying something early on in his career, but he is," Rivers continued. "I sit there and watch the Olympics, where, two of those games early in the Olympics were kind of close in the first half. The [United States] would have been down 20, but Kevin Love kept just getting -- he was the only big on the floor, and he kept getting rebounds. And you stare at it and watch it and it's an art. He has it. It's a gift for him."