Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan for a chat Thursday morning, following Wednesday night's victory over the Jazz.
Ray Allen remains out with an ankle injury, but Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have led a resurgence as the C's aim to surpass the 76ers for the Atlantic Division title. Rivers said one of the keys to the team's recent success has been a change to the offensive setup.
"I think moving Kevin to the 5 helps," Rivers said. "I thought that was a big change for us, and putting Brandon [Bass] at the 4, I think it opened the floor up for [Rajon] Rondo, in particular, because we have two shooters on the floor all the time for the most part at the 5 and the 4 spot, which opens the floor up. We made a little offensive change where either we play through Rondo or we play through Kevin on the elbows, and I thought that cut down our turnovers."
Asked if he thought the C's could make a run in the playoffs, Rivers said: "Before the season I thought we could, beginning of the season I wasn't so sure, and now I do. And again, for us -- and actually, for everyone -- you have to be healthy. You just have to be healthy. I do think we all forget the one thing that is good is we rest more in the playoffs. In the playoffs the games are harder, but the rest is more."
Austin Rivers announced this week that he will leave Duke after one season and enter the NBA draft.
"This is something he's wanted to do before the year," the C's coach said of his son. "He grew up in an NBA family, and I think people understand that. He didn't grow up in a college family. His dream is to be in the NBA. It was the plan for Duke. He loved it. He loved playing for coach [Mike Krzyzewski]. He loved playing in the UNC-Duke games. But his dream has always been to do what he's seen his dad do."
Rivers was asked what would happen if Austin was available when the Celtics were on the board but team president Danny Ainge did not want to select him.
"It wouldn't be a good moment in our room, I can tell you that. Meaning, we would have a huge argument, and then I would let Danny decide. And then if Austin went on to become a great player, I would rub that in Danny's face every day," he joked.
Added Rivers: "Danny is the expert in the draft. But I do know this draft. So, it would be interesting. That could happen, guys. And that would be the no-fun part of Austin being in the draft."
Rivers said he knows the players in this year's draft because he's seen them play with and against his son.
"I think it's deep," he said. "It's really deep. But I don't know how many superstars-deep it is, if you know what I'm saying. But this is going to be a very good draft."
As for Austin, "I just think his offensive ability is so good that, in our league, in a league where I think for the most part everybody is struggling scoring, you need guys that can create their own shot. We need one more guy like that."
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