Doc hit WEEI this morning for his usual Thursday appearance. He had nothing groundbreaking after last night. He did say that Jermaine O'Neal will rejoin the team on the road in Indiana on Monday. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll play Monday, but we'll actually see Jermaine on the bench, with the team. Yesterday we heard that Jermaine has lost weight and has worked out with no swelling in his knee.
As for the other O'Neal, Doc said he'll hopefully be back within the next five or six days as well.
Other quick points: Doc's not concerned about Rajon Rondo's recent struggles.. saying "[his confidence] is coming back. In the last 3 games you can see it coming back. His attacking is back and that's good. [Struggles] are something you go through and when its the point guard it has a more dramatic effect.
Doc also explained the play that ended with that Big Baby 3. He said he told his team that they wanted Paul or Ray for 3 and if those weren't available, drive to the hoop for a quick 2 because Memphis wouldn't foul. So he wanted Rondo to drive and then foul and hopefully set themselves up for a good shot after that. Instead, Baby took the 3… which Doc said he'll "live with" because he knows there were a few seconds left and Baby was trying to make a play. I think he's just deflecting blame there. That was a horrible decision by Baby.
On the turnovers, he said they were playing a Memphis team that forces turnovers, so he expected a few. "We kept tyring to split guys and make home run passes and they forced turnovers. And that's part of the points in the paint. It leads to fast breaks and layups and that's points in the paint."
On Troy Murphy's four minutes, he said flat out Murphy is struggling. And when his size was brought up, Doc quickly shot that down. "Troy's not a big guy, its not like he's gonna be an enforcer. Troy's gonna spread the floor. Troy's not size. Troy's a guy to use when you're going small. Nenad, Baby and Garnett give you size more than Troy." And that's true, but I expected at least a few rebounds or something. Hell… ANYTHING.
He was asked about last year's struggles and this year's late-season struggles and he made an important distinction. He said last year was more on purpose. Not the losing, but the resting guys because of injuries. They used the last 15-20 games "as preseason" for the playoffs. This year they're waiting for a couple of bigs to come back, and once they do, that dramatically changes the rotation. Starting Shaq and sending Nads to the bench has a ripple effect. Then you throw Jermaine into that mix and you have even more changes. So this year is different than last year.
You can listen to the interview here.
Photos: CSN screen grab via Chris Forsberg