Speaking during his weekly appearance on The Dennis and Callahan Show, Thursday morning, Celtics coach Doc Rivers talked about the ups and downs both his team and individual players have endured throughout what has been 13-12 season thus far.
Regarding the team, and any assertion that some of the early-season struggles have to do with so many new faces, Rivers explained the inconsistencies were due to a variety of reasons.
"I understand the changes we made. We made a lot of them," said Rivers, whose team is coming off a 103-91 win over Cleveland Wednesday night. "One of our key guys has not played yet, but Avery [Bradley] is not Bill Russell. With that, plus with all the different changes -- guys buying into different roles -- it does take time. Did I think it would take this much time? I didn't. It also takes time for us as a staff to figure out the right combination. Not just the rotation, but the right group of guys who should play every night and the right group of guys who can stay consistent every night, and I think we're still searching for that.
"We're just not consistent enough. As a team, we're not consistent enough. Every night there are one or two guys who don't do their jobs."
Regarding return of Bradley, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, Rivers insinuated the guard was close, but still needed clearance from the team's medical staff.
"It really won't be me, it will be [head trainer] Eddie Lacerte and Doctor [Brian] McKeon," the coach explained. "Avery had a practice in Chicago and the team was asking him why he's not playing tomorrow. He was that good in practice. We can't forget it wasn't one shoulder, it was both shoulders. There's a time frame they want to go under and so we have to be patient with him.
"The practice was really important because they wanted to find out if he could take hits, and he did. It was a very physical practice and he came out looking great. But I do know that's a big factor. They want to make sure those shoulders are strong enough to not only take one hit, but take continuous hits."
One change Rivers made for the game against the Cavs was inserting both Jason Terry and Jason Collins in the starting lineup.
"Terry was easy," he said. "Until Avery comes back, whenever we move JT to the bench he just doesn't get as many shots, and it really has to do with not playing with a point guard because he comes in a lot of the time when Rondo is off the floor. JT needs somebody to get him the ball. I decided to put him back in the lineup until Avery gets back.
"The Collins part was something I've thought about for a while. We even thought about it with Chris Wilcox, but that doesn't have the same impact because a lot of times the big still guards Kevin [Garnett]. When you put Jason Collins on the floor it allows Kevin to be a four for about 10-12 minutes a game and takes some bumping away from him, and that's a good thing for Kevin."
Rivers was asked about the continued lack of consistency from Jeff Green. Green, who is averaging 9.4 points and three rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game, scored just three points in 14 minutes while finishing with a minus-17 when on the floor. The forward is a combined 2-for-10 from the floor in the past two games.
"We see up and down from Jeff," Rivers said. "Jeff has to go get it if he wants it. I still think at times he waits for us to make a call for him. Where we need Jeff … The scoring is one thing and to me that will be hit and miss. There will be nights he scores well, and there will be nights he struggles. Where we really need Jeff is doing everything else, rebounding, running the floor, getting energy points. And that's what we're working with him and talking to him about.
"Usually you are who you are. Jeff in Oklahoma City was more aggressive. One other thing I don't forget with Jeff was what he went through last year, so we're being patient in that way. I still believe he has an endurance problem and I think that has a lot to do with last year. So we're being patient."
For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.
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