Boston Celtics: Off day
During a conference call with reporters after the team landed in Miami on Friday afternoon, Celtics coach Doc Rivers downplayed past results, noting each series is different, but admitted that Boston has experience in these type of moments and that might aid them Saturday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Rivers, though, said he'll spend more time focusing on the six games of tape from this series than anything from past years. Even that might not be enough to make him change his plan of attack.
"Obviously, being Game 7, that means you have six games of some great film to look at," he said. "You can look at all the tweaks and changes that each team has made. But, at the end of the day, you have to go out and perform, you have to make shots, you have to rebound. You have to do all the things that you’ve probably talked about since Game 1 of the regular season, and you have to do it with an urgency."
A handful of other highlights from the call:
* LEBRON ADJUSTMENTS: Rivers wouldn't quite tip his hand of potential adjustments after LeBron James erupted for 45 points in Game 6. "Well, you'll see (those adjustments) when the game starts," said Rivers. "We're not going to do much. We do what we do. Defensively, for the most part, we have to do it better. I thought, obviously, LeBron had a great game, (but) I thought there were things we should have done better in the game, with the way we we were playing them. And we didn't do that. That's the first thing we have to correct. Then if we have to do something else, we'll do it."
* DELAY FOR PACQUIAO: Asked what he thought about boxer Manny Pacquiao delaying his fight Saturday night versus Timothy Bradley Jr. until after the end of the Celtics-Heat game, Rivers quipped: "He’s a Celtics fan, what do you expect? It's pretty cool though." The pay-per-view is slated to start at 9 p.m. and Boston players will undoubtedly be scrambling to watch Pacquiao after the game as well.
* BIG THREE REFLECTIONS DELAYED, TOO: Celtics coach Doc Rivers was offered the chance to reflect on the Big Three era and politely passed. "I'm not even going to let myself go down that road," said Rivers. "I’d like to talk about that two or three weeks from now." The insinuation, of course, wait until the season is actually over before conducting the postmortem.
"Listen, we have one home game left," said Rivers. "And that’s it in this series. We have to understand that, and we have to come with that sense of urgency. I think our guys get that. They know what's at stake. And so does Miami."
The Celtics' overall record in closeout games during the Big Three era is a mere 11-13. Boston has often failed to close out teams on first attempt, but usually prevailed in deciding games. The difference this time around? Game 7 is pegged for Miami and Boston won't have the benefit of home-court advantage it's enjoyed as a higher seed in past seasons. The Celtics are 9-2 in closeout chances at TD Garden.
That's why Boston will treat Game 6 like Game 7, though Rivers said that was the case Tuesday night as well.
"I think when you get to the playoffs, you get to 2-2, from that point on every game is Game 7," said Rivers. "Game 5, Game 6, Game 7 -- I think that’s how you have to look at them."
A few more highlights from Rivers' chat with reporters:
* Rivers said Ray Allen departed Game 5 after his ankle "locked" up on him and needed team doctors to put it back in place before returning. Allen has played the 16 games of the postseason with bone spurs in his right ankle that have limited his mobility at times. Rivers said he didn't think it would be an issue for Game 6.
"He’ll be fine," said Rivers. "(Allen) just said (the ankle) locked on him again. That’s happened a couple times. He needed our team doctor to maneuver it, to be almost chiropractic, just to unhinge it, so he could run again. That’s what it was."
* Rivers downplayed the apparent elbow-area contusion that Rajon Rondo suffered early in Game 5 (he got treatment from trainer Ed Lacerte on the sideline before returning to the game with a protective sleeve covering much of his left arm).
"I don’t know what happened there, I think he got slashed or cut," said Rivers. "I'm not even sure, I pay zero attention to injuries and never ask about them; I don’t want to know about them."
* Rivers downplayed the adjustments he's made this series, saying Boston has stuck with what's got them this far.
"I think it’s just us sticking to our original game plan," said Rivers. "We’ve made some adjustments that have worked, but they’ve made some that have worked as well. So I don’t know if there’s been an edge there or not. I think at the end of the day, we know who we are. We are who we are, and we’re not going to change who we are, because we really can’t. We don’t have enough guys to do it. The only change that I would say that we’ve made in a big way is that we’ve played small more than big. Other than that, we pretty much have stuck to our guns, because I don’t think we have enough to change a whole bunch and our guys understand that."
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