Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
In the Atlanta series, when Bass failed to close out on a Josh Smith 3-pointer late in the third quarter, Rivers yanked him from the game. Bass thought he was done for the night, but two minutes later, Rivers gave him a shot at defensive redemption.
“They say Doc is a players’ coach, and he is,” Bass said with a grin. “A players’ coach who will kick your ass.”
That piece by Jackie MacMullan is so good, I could write 11 other, different morning dumps on it. I’m not even kidding. Here are all the great topics for discussion, all within this fabulous piece.
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: ”Some coaches don’t [demand things from players] because they’re intimidated by their ownership or their contract situation. Doc isn’t intimidated by anything.”
- The relationship between Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo was strained enough that Doc had to implore them to trust each other
- Doc had to discourage Paul Pierce from falling into the “Hero Ball” mode all the time, and had talks with him about it.
- MacMullan’s line: “if you really think Ray Allen is returning, then you haven’t been paying attention”
- Doc’s wife telling him after last season: ”Well, if you take a break, you can’t come back to Boston.”
- Doc: “I honestly think the lockout saved his season. [Garnett] got some unexpected rest, and his knee got a chance to be healthy.”
- Sam Cassell is trying to convince KG to come back for another year: “I can’t see him playing for anyone else except Doc at this point.”
- Rondo wanted to skip the All Star game out of spite because he was so pissed at being left off the team, but Doc convinced him to go.
- Doc took full responsibility for looking at Avery Bradley as a point guard, rather than as a two-guard.
- Doc on why it’s so hard for rookies to break through on his teams: ”You can’t hand it to them… I look at the Washington [Wizards] model, where they played Andray Blatche and those guys, and what did it teach them? That they’re going to play them anyway?”
- Doug Collins: ”He’s street savvy. Doc can walk into a corporate function and speak to those people as effectively as he speaks to his team and the media. In today’s NBA, that stuff matters. ”And nobody — nobody — does all those things better than Doc.
It’s all so overwhelming, I don’t know where to begin. I guess all I can do is sum it up by saying Doc Rivers is by no mean’s perfect, but he’s probably the single biggest reason why this whole thing worked this year. Think of all the things that he held together with Ray and Rondo… and Pierce playing hero ball… and KG playing a position he hates… and so much more.
Who else gets this team to stick together? Gregg Popovich? Hell, I’m not even sure HE could do it because I’m not sure his personality would fit with Rondo’s. As much as I love Pop and think he’s one of the best ever… I still think he’d have had problems with Rondo, and that might have still derailed this whole thing.
The Celtics had no business being six minutes away from an NBA Finals berth. They just didn’t. But Doc kept it together, and he made it possible. He made mistakes along the way… but even his mistakes were made under a greater umbrella of getting the absolute most out of all these players that he could.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: How badly does Ray want to play? | ESPN Boston: KG interests San Antonio? Get in line | Pietrus: Hopefully, I’ll be back | Herald: Austin Rivers’ cockiness will serve him well in the NBA | Ray Allen arrives at NBA future | Rookie Stiemsma gets his feet wet | Kevin Garnett most valuable to Celtics | Development vital as C’s go forward | Globe: Perk back in Finals, this time with Thunder | MWDN: Garnett has big decision