It’s been a mere 12 hours since the Celtics postseason run came to a crashing halt at American Airlines Arena. Unlike last year’s end, the end of the road this year seemed inevitable after Game 4. These guys played like hell last night, but seemed accepting of the fact after the game that they didn’t have the horses intact to take down a team of the Heat’s caliber.
The good news, is while there will be plenty of speculation on how this team moves forward, a lot of the biggest decision were announced last night. Doc will be back, Ray will be back, Jeff Green wants to be back, and Glen Davis says he does as will, but he also wants an opportunity to start. Here’s a breakdown of the key lines from everyone last night, with a huge assist from Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com
On Returning Next Year: “I’m leaning heavily to coming back. I haven’t made that decision. But I can tell you that I probably will. I’ve kind of come to that over the last couple of weeks. I’m a Celtic and I love our guys. I want to win again here. I do. And I’m competitive as hell. I have a competitive group, and so we’ll see. I love them. And I love the people I work for. It’s tough. So we’ll see. But that’s where I’m at today, for sure.” But I can tell you that’s where I’m at today. Tomorrow I may change my mind, but that’s where I’m at today.”
More from Gary Washburn at The Boston Globe from Doc on his decision process:
“Listen, there’s been a contract for basically three months there. (Team president) Danny (Ainge) and (co-owner) Wyc Grousbeck have been on the other side of patient,” he said after announcing he was leaning toward returning. “It gave us a long time to talk about it as a family. I haven’t signed anything or done anything but it’s there and I probably will sign it.”
“We only got one (child) left at the house and he basically told me he didn’t want me home,” Rivers said laughing. “It will be easier and that’s one of the things for my family because it’s only Austin playing and Spencer. The other two are graduated from college. And it will be less travel in a lot of ways and they can come see me more because my wife only has one kid in the house. So that’s big for us. I told (Wyc) before one of the games here, whatever you figure out with (my agent), I’ll probably do it.”
Doc on the offensive collapse at the end of the game: “I loved our effort tonight. Gosh, I mean, we missed so many open shots down that stretch, you know, maybe fatigue, or maybe we just missed shots, but Wade in the first half just killed us and made some very difficult shots. If you looked at the shots at the end of that game — we had open threes, I think Ray had two of them, Jeff had a layup, Paul had a layup — they hit two threes with one second on the shot clock fading out. You can’t ask much more than that. As long I’ve known basketball, it’s a make-miss league. It always will be. No matter if your shots are good shots and their shots are bad shots, if their bad shots go in and your good shots don’t, you lose the game, and that’s how I felt down the stretch.”
Doc on the injuries and lineups down the stretch: “I mean, [Jermaine O'Neal], his back tightened up at the beginning of the game, so he couldn’t play. Rondo’s shoulder, back, elbow, I just didn’t think he could move, so, we were obviously limited. But Nenad played terrific. He was phenomenal. He gave us one huge lift. And for Jeff, you know, it’s a great experience for him, it really is. You know, I think he sees the level, you know, and he’ll have this whole summer to think about it and work on it. I don’t think we ever got great games from our big three every [game] and to go against those two guys, they were super. And so, I’m happy. I’m happy with all the guys.
On the elbow and back injuries: “You know, honestly, tonight, my back was hurting so much, the elbow really didn’t bother me tonight. I don’t know how that happened, but it just switched.”
On Doc’s potential return: “Well I’m going to put this on the record. Doc already committed and said he was coming back with me, so, he can’t go back against his word, so we’ll see.”
On the team’s future: “Oh, I’m sure it will. I think we [have] — I don’t know the exact number — but I think only maybe four or five guys under contract, so, [there's] definitely going to be a lot of new faces. Hopefully we get some of the guys that we have back. I mean, this is a great group of guys, and it’s going to be difficult to move on, but obviously it’s a business, and like I said before, there’s going to be a lot of different guys probably in the locker room next year.”
On the problems this year: “Fourth quarter slumps, I think. I haven’t had much time to think about it, but it’s not that we didn’t get stops, but we couldn’t put the ball in the basket in the fourth quarter again tonight. They gave us problems as far as just getting to the paint. Give them a lot of credit, [Dwyane Wade] attacked all night, and then LeBron caught up and followed, so, give them credit, they made their shots at the end as well. I think as far as the series, we were in it pretty much every game, it’s just, the fourth quarter, they did a better job of running their stuff and making shots and we didn’t.”
On his future: “I love Boston,’’ Davis said. “Boston’s where I started and I plan on wishing I can stay. But you never know. It’s like [Kendrick Perkins’s] situation. He’s been there eight years and he wanted to stay. But it just might not work my way. It’s just how it is. I’m just not going to watch TV for a while. Play with my daughter and be around my family and just let things take its course. “I feel like I’ve got a lot more to offer,’’ he said. “I want to show the world my talents, if it’s here in Boston or wherever.’’
How tough to go out like that?
“It’s a tough pill to swallow. We had expectations at the beginning of the year and we played so hard throughout the regular season for our opportunity to win a championship and when you fall short, it’s very disappointing. We have high goals around here in Boston. Right now I’m just really upset. I wish I could have played better tonight. Unfortunately we came up on the short end of the stick. I’ve got to take my hat off to Miami. They really played great basketball, Dwyane Wade, LeBron, Chris Bosh. They really led their team in this series and stepped up when they needed to.
Had lead late, what happened down the stretch?
“I thought, really, they made some threes. LeBron, he’s tough to guard when he’s shooting the three ball like he did tonight. James Jones hits a three. We just couldn’t get any stops down the stretch. Dwyane Wade constantly drove all night, got to the line. I thought we got some pretty good shots, got to the basket, it just didn’t fall and we came up on the short end of the stick.”
How strongly do you believe this core can still do it?
“I really believe it. For the most part, between me, Ray, and Kevin, we stayed pretty relatively healthy this year. Ray is probably the most healthy, in-shape guy in the league, so I have no doubts that he’ll come back strong for another three or four years, and KG, he got through another year. I think this is a healthy year for him for the most part, and I’ve been for the most part healthy, so I definitely believe we can come back and make another run at this.”
Given any thought how different team might look next year?
“Well I know it’s going to look different. I know that for a fact. Every year things are going to be done in the summer and when you have so many guys with this being the last year of their contract, you know it happens every year. So I know there’s going to be a few changes. I don’t know what, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Kevin Garnett left the arena without speaking to the media.