These quotes go with my column from earlier today, which said that the Celtics — though underwhelming during the regular season — never were bothered by their regular season play. (ESPNBoston/ Boston Globe)
Rivers remains steadfast that he saw championship potential in his team as early as training camp.
“I told you guys before, I saw us in training camp and, I know that sounds crazy, but I thought we were phenomenal in training camp,” said Rivers. “I thought we looked better in training camp than we did two years ago, quite honestly. As a team, I thought we were close. We started out great and then obviously we fell apart, with injuries and all kinds of other issues. But you can see that everybody wanting to get it back. It was tough the last three weeks of the season because we had to make a choice. And I told you guys before what we were going to do with the rest and stuff.
“Obviously, we fell, we lost a lot of games. But I think overall it was probably the right thing to do because we did get guys healthy. And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to try to win this, is by being healthy.”
Ray Allen agreed: even through all those depressing losses, the Celtics never lost their way.
“At the trade deadline, Doc addressed what was going on in the media,’’ Allen said. “He just told us as a team, he likes this team. He likes who we are with this team. So we always as a team liked who we were. We didn’t worry about, we lost this game, we lost that game. As a team we were still a very formidable team and there were a lot of teams around the league playoff-wise that were afraid of us come playoff time. Rightfully so. Cleveland, we sent them home.’’
The regular season, the one that made us all want to vomit over and over again, was only about getting healthy. And the team that emerged in the playoffs is the one Doc says was phenomenal in training camp. We all wondered whether the Celtics could actually turn it around, and the answer is now in.
It’s a resounding yes.
(p.s. I love the quote by Ray — “There were a lot of teams around the league playoff-wise that were afraid of us come playoff time. Rightfully so.”)