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NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CELTICS v HEAT


June 9, 2012


Doc Rivers


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Game Seven

Boston Celtics - 88
Miami Heat - 101


Q.テつ Doc, through the first 40 minutes, would you have asked any more out of the group?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ No.テつ I was really proud of our guys, especially early on.テつ You could just see they had the fight in them.テつ They were going to play the right way.テつ I thought that Kevin's early foul trouble threw him out of rhythm for the game, almost.テつ I thought that really hurt us.
Honestly, I just thought we had nothing left.テつ That's how it felt as a coach.テつ I was trying to push every button we possibly had.テつ Guys, everything was the front rim.テつ We started throwing the ball away.テつ They started beating us off the dribble.
But overall, I don't know if I've ever had a group like this.テつ I had a group in Orlando that I am fond of, that I talk about, the heart and hustle group.テつ They're very similar to that group.テつ They did everything I asked them to do.テつ They came up short.
Miami was terrific.テつ I thought Bosh, Chalmers and Battier were the difference‑makers.テつ This is a good team.テつ I'm amazed that‑‑ they're really talented, obviously with LeBron and Wade.テつ Erik does a terrific job.テつ I wish he got more credit for what he does with that group.テつ I would guess this wouldn't be the easiest for him.テつ So classy organization.
But, again, on our guys, I love them.テつ They were phenomenal.

Q.テつ Doc, end of the season, obviously disappointed with the outcome.テつ When you look at where you guys started, where you guys finished, to get all that they had to offer, just talk about that feeling, that you got everything you could out of this group.
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ Yeah, listen, I think we did.テつ I'm so competitive.テつ I really wanted to win this game.テつ Really, you know, nothing to do with me.テつ I wanted this group somehow‑‑ when you think about this group, no Jeff Green to start the season and no Chris Wilcox, no Avery Bradley, JO.テつ If we could have got this group to The Finals, it would have been fantastic for us.テつ That's all I thought about today.テつ Somehow let's see if we can get this group in The Finals.テつ They deserve it with their will.
I hear people at times talk about the NBA as an individual league.テつ I think that theory is gone.テつ This is a team.テつ We had a terrific team effort by everybody.

Q.テつ Doc, there was a stretch, there were 46 possessions over one 13‑minute stretch, neither team led by two.テつ I know you're in it in that moment.テつ As a coach, what's that feeder like?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ Frustrating for a coach.テつ I'm sure Erik was just as frustrated.テつ I think it was almost four minutes.テつ It just felt like, let's get away from them.テつ Let's get away from them.テつ We can't let them hang around.テつ And then we did.テつ So there was a lot of stretches that I'll go back and‑‑ I'll probably watch this game sometime in September, and you'll think, wow, if that could have happened, if we could have made this shot.
LeBron takes a shot from half court, it felt like, and makes a three.テつ I thought that was back‑breaker for us.テつ I really thought he in particular played a very smart, aggressive game.テつ He kind of let the game come to him, and then down the stretch he took the game over.テつ That's what great players do.

Q.テつ To follow up, if I may, I'm sure you touched on it, you guys were under .500 at the break.テつ You're a couple of breaks away from going to The Finals.テつ Even in this moment, what's the sense of accomplishment for what you guys pulled off?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ Oh, God, it's tough.テつ Again, I'm too competitive to see it right now.テつ I'm sure at some point I'll look back and say what a great run.テつ Right now I'm just too competitive to see that.

Q.テつ Doc, can you talk about what you guys did to really slow down LeBron for most of the game.テつ Is there anything that you could have done with Bosh?テつ How much of an X factor was he?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ We needed Bosh's guy to help slow down LeBron, if you want to simplify it.テつ Bosh made shots.テつ A lot of them we were running out at him, and he just made shots.テつ I think he made two threes, if I'm not mistaken.テつ Maybe one or two.テつ But they were way back.テつ Three threes.テつ Listen, if that's what's going to beat you, if you had to told me that before the game‑‑ not taking anything from Bosh, he can shoot‑‑ but when their five is beating you with the three‑point shot late in the shot clock, and we got the ball out of LeBron's hands, honestly I think we would take it.
But that's where ‑‑ he was the X factor.テつ He gave them exactly what they needed.

Q.テつ Doc, maybe hard to reflect on now, but Rondo and what he was able to do this postseason, did he elevate himself into just another class with the postseason he had?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ Well, I've already thought he was in that class.テつ So if he's not, now he is.
One of the things I told our guys‑‑ I don't ever look at individual stuff.テつ I think you know me by now.テつ I told my guys that before the game.テつ One of the things I love about being a Celtic is that we have 17 banners, that's it, on the wall.テつ We don't have the 30 division championships or the 21 conference championships.テつ And we don't really celebrate the individual stuff.テつ Everybody buys into team around here.テつ Rondo, Paul, Kevin, I think they sacrifice their individual games so much to try to help the team win.テつ And so for me that's where I'm the most proud of Rondo.テつ I thought he was phenomenal in that regard.テつ I thought he was our leader on the floor.テつ I thought he did so many things where he had to give of himself for the team, for the better of the team.テつ He had to cut a lot without the ball.テつ He just did so many things.テつ And for a coach I think that's where I'm the most proud of him.

Q.テつ Doc, how would you describe the legacy of the Big Three?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ Well, you know, I don't know.テつ I wish we could have had healthy runs.テつ This team won a title.テつ Got to another one, a Game 7, where they had a shot to win.テつ Got to the Eastern Conference Finals and one game away on the road.テつ Banged up.テつ So I don't know‑‑ because of really Kevin's injury, I don't know if we could have gotten any more out of the group.テつ I would have loved to have seen this team in this whole stretch where Kevin was injury‑free.
But you don't get do‑overs.テつ Everybody has injuries.テつ Not just us.テつ Chicago, Thibs is sitting at home right now thinking, no Rose.テつ It's part of the luck of it.
But great group.テつ Great team group.テつ I know everybody will look at the Big Three individually.テつ Kevin, Ray and Paul.テつ I'm never going to look at them individually, I'm going to look at them as a group collective.テつ They all gave up plus‑seven shots each.テつ They gave up minutes.テつ I asked them to play defense and move the ball, and they all did it, and they're willing to do it for the better of the team.
So I think that's what we should focus on, how much they gave up to try to win.テつ That's what I'll remember most about them.

Q.テつ Doc, this is going to piggyback off of that:テつ Do you get the sense that this is, in fact, the last game we're going to see of the Big Three in Boston Celtics uniforms?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ Well, I don't know.テつ Obviously, we're all smart, at least you guys are.テつ I think we're going to wait and see what happens with free agency and all that stuff.テつ I honest to gosh hadn't thought much about it, other than the draft, because I was in it.テつ Other than that, I've given zero thought to the whole thing.
Danny has talked to me a couple of times recently.テつ I probably didn't hear much.テつ We'll find that out later.テつ I just want to stick with this group if it's a couple more days, a couple more weeks, or whatever.テつ I just want to stick with them.

Q.テつ Doc, can you just take us back to the trading deadline time when there was talk, maybe break it up, sticking together, what was it that kept this team together ultimately?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ I don't know, honestly.テつ I was fighting for that, but as a coach, I work with a great GM, and I trust him.テつ I kept telling him, do what you think is the best for the team.テつ But if you don't think it's best for the long run, short run I want to stay with this group.テつ Make no short run moves involving them, if you understand what I'm saying.テつ And I'm glad we did.
This group‑‑ it's funny, we were two games under .500, and I liked them.テつ I don't know why, I just did.テつ And they almost came through.

Q.テつ Doc, I noticed that you and LeBron hugged each other after the game, and you had some extended words with each other.テつ Can you give us the gist of that conversation.テつ And also do you think maybe this finally is the year that LeBron can win a title?
COACH DOC RIVERS:テつ Well, I illegally recruited‑‑ I told him we're going to have a lot of money.テつ And I didn't know when his opt‑out is.テつ No, I didn't do any of that.テつ No.テつ He told me he's very proud of the team and everything.テつ And I basically told them to go do it.テつ Proud of him.テつ I think, again, he gets too much heat.テつ I'm going to give it to this guy (Rondo).テつ Like I said earlier, he's wonderful.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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