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Defending Doc


I love my colleague Zach Lowe to death, but have to respectively disagree with him and David Thorpe about the shame and skeptcism they felt regarding Doc’s admissions of injuries to his two best players after the Orlando series. Call me a homer, if you want but I feel like I have to go to bat for Doc here for a couple reasons.

1) Doc didn’t volunteer the information
It would have been one thing if the coach gave up the information in the press conference following game 7. That I would have been somewhat skeptical about of him talking injury excuses for the loss at that point. The injury admission however came two days after game 7 following an interview in which he was asked directly about the team’s ailments. There was no need for him to hide his players’ injuries players anymore, so why not come out with the truth when asked?

2) Doc owed the information to Celtics fans
Zach Lowe all ready referred to this in his earlier post and I agree 100 percent with him on it. I had a number of serious questions about a team that is capable of being blown out by 20 points in its own building during a game 7. Despite the overwhelming number of minutes the stars of this Celtics team played throughout the regular season, a performance like Sunday’s was still inexcusable in my eyes on the surface.

After that game, I pondered the future of this team with my buddy JRo. How was Pierce a complete no show for that game? Did Ray Allen have anything left after failing to hit a jumper consistently for six games? Obviously KG’s absence affected this team’s play astronomically, but it still did not account for the drop off in those guys performance.

Therefore hearing the injury news was somewhat of a relief for me in explaining their play and put any questions I had in my head about those players’ ability to contribute in future years to bed. There’s a piece of mind that comes with knowing your guys gutted it out despite not being at 100 percent but its more than that for me.

As fellow Celtics Hub writer Brendan Jackson kindly stated upon hearing the news, “That makes sense, but I wish Doc would have let us known earlier….it would have saved me a lot of time from yelling at my television so much during that game.” Losing is tough enough, but knowing your team was gutting it out while hurting will make the Celtics fanbase sleep a little bit easier at night after a disappointing game 7.

3) Doc owed it to his players to share the injury news
This once again goes back to their performance throughout the Orlando series. Between Ray, Paul and Perk those guys helped will this team somehow to seven games against a well balanced and well coached Orlando team that took game 1 from the supposedly unbeatable Cavaliers team tonight. This is all after they held off an up and coming Chicago team in arguable the best Round 1 series anyone in basketball had ever seen.

Every time they went out there, those guys left it on the floor and never once did they complain about injuries in the aftermath of those losses. Allen and Pierce could have potentially been risking years of their careers with the amount of stress they put on their injured bodies in that series.

And even though everyone knew about Perk’s injury, about he shrugged off an MRI despite the shoulder being a chronic problem for him during his career. As a coach, Doc Rivers had to admire his guys so much for their effort, and likely felt like a proud father explaining to friends how his sons had come up short in a big game after they had sprained their ankle the night before.

Anyone who sees in harm in that, Doc speaking up for guys that are too modest or professional to make up or talk up excuses, even if they are serious injuries, then I fear hearing what it takes to know when its acceptable with you to share that kind of information. Final thoughts after the jump

I guess what it boils down to is this. If the Celtics had beaten the Magic in that series, and Stan Van Gundy came out with the news that Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu had been suffering from hamstring problems and bone spurs all series, my gut reaction probably would not have been “Excuses, excuses!” Instead, it probably would have been something along the lines of, “Wow, I guess that explains why we were able to stick with them for seven games.”

Zach Lowe is right about one thing though. That kind of skepticism of the C’s are showing how hated of a franchise they have become this past couple years. This reality must make both Celtic players and fans excited to get back at it in a few months.

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  • http://constantcognizance.com Ash

    You are a homer. No other coach or team would whine like that after a series. I would have much more respect for that team if they just took their defeat and came back stronger than ever next year.

    Now, I’ll just be waiting for their next excuse.

  • Petr

    I could not be prouder of my beloved C’s. All gut, no quit, pure championship caliber ball. I don’t even care that they didn’t win. They played true to themselves and earned their spot on the parquet alongside other truly greats like Russell, Havlicek and Bird.

    I think Orlando’s going to take down the Cav’s and lose to the Nuggets in the finals…. So maybe I am crazy, but I do know that in future years when Orlando and Chicago are asked who they remember most they’re going to say “Celtics”

    And Ash, you can kiss my…

  • kevin

    yah, this season was all about celtics pride. im proud of the way the team gutted it out. you really think paul and kendrick are going to go under the knife if it isn’t a neccessity? get outta here…i debated thorpe on that chat and his rebuttal to my point about kg, powe ect was that orlando was missing nelson. sorry, but kg+powe > nelson. rondo can guard nelson. kg can guard lewis. no one on orlando besides dwight can cover kg

  • Choffster

    Right! But Phil Jackson never told everyone about all of the Laker injuries going into game 6 of last year’s championship. Deal with it Celtics fans. 32-1. They got blown out. At home. Game 7. Good-bye. Move on.

  • Petr

    Right! But Phil Jackson never told everyone about all of the Laker injuries going into game 6 of last year’s championship

    How is disclosing injuries after the season (Doc Rivers) in anyway related to disclosing injuries before the game (Phil Jackson)??

    Non sequitur (Latin for “you’re not making sense…”)

    Typical phakers fan…

  • Choffster

    Petr // Today at 2:01 pm (1 minute ago)

    Right! But Phil Jackson never told everyone about all of the Laker injuries going into game 6 of last year’s championship

    How is disclosing injuries after the season (Doc Rivers) in anyway related to disclosing injuries before the game (Phil Jackson)??

    Non sequitur (Latin for “you’re not making sense…”)

    Typical phakers fan…

    Excuse me Petr for not being more clear. I meant that Phil didn’t make excuses, I mean “reveal” a bunch of injuries after that game 6 like Doc has done.

    Typical Boston fans, looking for excuses.

  • NC

    He was asked a question and answered it honestly. It’s simple, really.

    As far as Phil not doing it last year, it matters none. Does Phil do LA sports radio? Does sports radio even exist in LA?

    Also, we all know Phil will blame the refs every chance he gets.

  • Petr

    Excuse me Petr for not being more clear. I meant that Phil didn’t make excuses, I mean “reveal” a bunch of injuries after that game 6 like Doc has done.

    Excuse me, Choffster, for not being more solicitous, but you continue to be unclear. Doc was asked a question to which he gave an answer. Not before game 6. Not after game 6. After the season. Nothing perfidious nor, indeed, out of the ordinary about this. But, of course, you’re entitled to see what you want to see.

    Personally, I despise most of the Lakers, as ballers and as human beings. But, when it was finally ‘revealed’ that some were playing injured, I gave them props for gutting it out…. just like I give my C’s props for gutting it out.

  • Tweedster

    Maybe because they didn’t have any to be revealed? We knew Bynum was out and Kobe was nicked up, but what other players on the Lakers were playing injured last season? Did they receive secret treatment in the offseason? BTW, asshat, Doc didn’t reveal this so much as he answered a direct question regarding the health of the team.

  • Steezy

    ASTA LA VISTA CELTICS!!! see you in another 10 years after your grandfathers ( allen, pierce, garnett) are on their last leg next season. ALL HAIL LA!

  • Choffster

    In a recent response to a Bill Simmons article a fellow fan put it well when he offered the following:
    Simmons hates Kobe (yes, Bill, you hate him; it isn’t a crime — it’s okay, in sports, to hate your arch-nemesis; the man who, even in defeat, makes the recent, short-lived achievements of “your” Celtics paltry and jerry-rigged by comparison; “your” Celtics; and the entire state of Minnesota’s; and New York’s; and wherever else Ainge and Doc rousted an aging star with no roots in Boston whatsoever and signed him with the understanding that he could move the hell back to his actual city as soon as they’d won a championship.

    But who’s championship was it? It was basically Garnett’s, wasn’t it? — Garnett the Timberwolf, who shall always be a Timberwolf, and never, ever not look incongruous in his baggy green costume — think of Malone and Payton in L.A., only fifty times worse — for I haven’t seen many moving tributes to Paul Pierce, or Ray Allen, or Doc Rivers, or Rondo, with glistening eyes as they softly caress the trophy. No, this championship was about Garnett finally winning one after years of ignominious failure in the state that made his name and fortune.

    So — here you are, pretending that an aging miscellany of bounty hunters and frustrated uprooted veterans qualifies as an actual Celtics team. No matter that they’ve no ties to Boston, that you haven’t cheered for them from youth to manhood — come on, those green jerseys speak for themselves. No matter that Pierce, without this dramatic intervention, without the team nobly tanking half a season on the chance that mediocrity and incompetence (and quisling surrender) would be rewarded, — no matter that he would have wasted his career on one of the great clownish franchises of the NBA — see, he’s got that ring, and that’s what matters. And it’s inspiring to see Doc weep into the microphone about injured players this, injured players that; LA’s loss of Bynum, who was just coming into his own, was quite a terrible blow itself, but not apparently the kind that a coach can point to as the reason for his lumpish departure from the playoffs.

  • Choffster

    You can read the entire post here if you are so inclined:

  • Steezy

    Did i mention that the Celtics suck?

  • Choffster

    PS – Hats off to the FORMER world champion boston celtics. They certainly never quit – up until they were routed in game 7, but then they were hurt.

  • Is Choffster That Dense?

    Rondo, Paul, Perk — 3/5 of the starters were lifelong Celts last year. This year, throw in Baby, and it’s 4/5. More than LA’s starting five. More than Cleveland’s. More than Orlando’s.

  • KJ

    More excuses from this team. According to them, they have yet to lose a game. It’s always the officiating or injuries. Nobody can ever beat the Celts.

    Newsflash: Every team has to deal with spotty officiating and their own injuries. Celts and their homer fans need to learn how to be gracious for once. Give credit where credit is due.

  • Jared

    Well I suppose it is not a surprise that Laker fans will find any reason criticize anything the Celtics have done/will do. Which is understandable with the level of hatred between the two clubs, which I personally think is a lot of fun. So really there is no way Doc could ever have brought up the fact that Paul was injured and needs surgery without Laker fans calling us whingers, the same as there is no way Laker fans can convince me Kobe shouldn’t be serving a jail sentence for rape.

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