Doc Rivers spoke with WEEI this morning, about a number of things. He discussed, among other things, Tony Allen’s trash-talking with Lebron James (“Basically what Tony was saying is, ‘I don’t care who you are.’ He said it in more colorful words, but I don’t think Tony Really started that talk. I don’t mind a guy not backing down. And Tony will never back down.”), the tendency to give up offensive rebounds (“Do I think we’ll have that problem in the playoffs? No. Does it bother me in the regular season games? Absolutely.”), and Michael Finley’s performance yesterday (“Finley was absolutely terrific last night. You get a performance like that off your bench, especially in the fourth quarter where you can afford to not play Paul Pierce in the fourth quarter, at this point in the season that’s good.”).
Here’s Doc on his players’ collective mindset heading into the playoffs.
You’ve had a chance to rest guys late in the season, but you really can’t do that this year. Are you playing down to the wire for the third spot?
I’m not. I’d like to have it. I think it would be great for us to have. If you polled our players I think it would be split. I don’t think they care who they play in the first or second round, they really don’t. That’s a good thing in some ways, I don’t know if it’s the smartest thing, but rest is more important for my team.
We have to be right and that’s why in the Cleveland game I extended minutes. Last night only two guys [Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen played extended minutes]. We’re going to play our guys, but we are absolutely going to try to find rest for them in games. That’s why you extend the minutes with the bench at times. That’s more important for us to be rested and ready than it is for us to be in the third or fourth spot.
In your experience how realistic is a team flipping a switch and being a better team in the playoffs?
If we win a couple of more games that means we’ve won over 50 games. When you do that, I don’t know if you’ve had that switch off a lot. You can look at it that way as well. Obviously we’re not a 60-win team this year and I don’t think there’s going to be but one. That’s going to be Cleveland. We have been on and off this year at times, but we’ve been on more than off record-wise. We’ve lost games clearly that we shouldn’t have lost, but overall I think this team will be ready.
Do I think the C’s apparent indifference to seeding is the right attitude to have? No, I don’t. But at least they still have the confidence that they can beat anybody, anywhere, at any time. That’s the one positive of the unwarranted bravado we have seen lately.