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WEEI » This Just In » Rivers on D&C: 'A responsibility' to beat LA
Mon, 05/31/2010 - 10:32am  

Rivers on D&C: 'A responsibility' to beat LA

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the NBA finals against the Lakers. Rivers said his players do not view themselves as underdogs. "We don't think that way," he said. "We don't care what others think. We believed going into the playoff rounds that we could get here and win it. We thought we needed to be healthy, and we did get healthy. I don't know how healthy we are now, but we're getting closer again. That was key for us. We just believe that the 23-5 team was the real team, at the beginning of the season. The 27-27 the rest of the way was due to different circumstances that had nothing to do with basketball. And we believe that as a group."


Rivers talked about the respect he has for the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. "It means a lot," he said. "I know the history. I love the history of the game. To be part of it is huge for me, personally. But you feel a responsibility. You don't want them to beat you. And that's just the bottom line. Let's say you were playing Phoenix. You still would want to win the world championship, obviously. But you're playing the Lakers, and it's like you're thinking more about you want to beat them and less about wanting to win the title. And that's probably good."


Rivers said he has been impressed with the focus of the players as they prepare for Thursday night's opener in Los Angeles. "You never know how guys handle this," he said. "Whether they've been through it or not, you just don't [know] until it starts. You prepare them. I will say this about this group of late, at least. Their focus has been terrific. Two days off, guys are coming in and getting shots, they're getting treatment. This is not a celebratory thing for us to make it to the finals. We were happy about it, but I don't think this is what the guys want. They want more, and you can sense that."


Asked if Nate Robinson can continue to be a factor after his huge performance in the clinching Game 6 against the Magic, Rivers said: "I think you'll see more of him. It's funny what you learn in losses. Nate Robinson didn't play because we needed him in Game 6. Nate Robinson played because he played so well in Game 5, the game that Orlando beat us. It wasn't the offensive end, it was the defensive end. He was doing all the things that we needed him to do, that we worked with him on. You could see that he had bought in. I remember turning to our bench early on and saying, "Hey, Nate's going to help us." I didn't know he was going to do that, obviously, offensively or anything like that. If he can continue to do that, then yeah, he has a chance to help us."


To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Check the Green Street blog for a transcript and more Celtics news.

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