The Celtics gathered in Waltham today for the final practice of their regular season. While two games remain for Boston before the playoffs begin, all of the talk was understandably centered around the Celtics’ first round matchup, which is now set in stone against the New York Knicks. In contrast to their counterparts, Doc Rivers and company had nothing but praise for the Atlantic Division champions. CelticsHub was live on the scene for it all.
Doc Rivers on the Knicks: “It’s going to be a fun series. They earned the central…or whatever division we are in. They’ve had a hell of a year. They really have. You know, you talk about Carmelo and all that, but they’ve had a lot of injuries too. Woody has done an amazing job.
Doc on the Knicks’ biggest challenge: “Carmelo is their biggest challenge. He’s their best player. They have a lot of good players though and veterans. It’s rare we go into a series where a team has more veterans than us. They do and that always plays well in the playoffs. They are going to be a very difficult opponent.
Doc on the Knicks’ three-point shooting: “That’s what they do and they do it well. They have a ton of great shooting. They don’t get the threes, because they are great shooters, they get the 3′s because they spread the floor well, they’re well coached, they drive and kick, post and kick. I go back to Carmelo. He’s done a great job with scoring and giving up the rock.”
Kevin Garnett on Knicks’ recent run: Melo’s playing unbelievable. Their whole team is playing connected. They are going to be a task at hand and something to reckon with. We got our work cut out for us.”
Garnett on defending NYK: “We definitely have to take the three’s away. Slow down the transition, they love to run at home and on the road. We have to be connected, know what our gameplan is in our sleep.
Jason Terry on starting over this postseason: “I’m anxious to get out there. The playoffs is a new season and I’m anxious to get my new season started.
Terry on his tough season: “I got a lot to prove, as does our team. We didn’t finish up particularly well. Us being healthy is a key factor. Us going up there, where we’ve won one time this year. We’re confident, but we’re not overconfident. We must go out and execute the gameplan.”
A couple other factors of note:
—Paul Pierce missed practice today due to illness. He’s expected to play tomorrow.
—Jeff Green is still good to go, after the bumps and bruises he suffered over the weekend in Miami and Orlando. He wants to play in the full 82 games. Rivers joked Green only wants to play because he has an incentive in his contract.
—Doc said the team’s playoff rotation is set, but could change at any point after a couple games.
—Terry will probably sit out the team’s final two games according to Doc, to rest his sore legs. Rivers says he plans to sit guys in the final couple games, but wouldn’t say who, and when exactly. An educated guess would be to look for Pierce and KG to see action tomorrow night, before getting a few days of rest before Game 1, likely to be Saturday afternoon.
—Doc indicated it would be a mix of Brandon Bass, Green and Pierce to guard Melo for the seven-game series, with a lot of the matchups depending on foul trouble.
More on the way, live from Celtics practice.