Celtics

Highlights from Rivers' emotional press conference

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Highlights from Rivers' emotional press conference

Following the Celtics' Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, the players were emotional as they discussed the end of their season and what could have been the end of the Big Three era.

At the podium, it was their head coach who delivered one of the most passionate addresses of them all.

Here are the highlights from Doc Rivers' press conference while he discussed the 2011-12 Celtics season and the group that fell one win shy of an NBA Finals berth.

On Game 7: I was really proud of our guys, especially early on. You could just see they had the fight in them. They were going to play the right way. But overall, I don't know if I've ever had a group like this. I had a group in Orlando that I am fond of, that I talk about, the heart and hustle group. They're very similar to that group. They did everything I asked them to do. They came up short. But, again, on our guys, I love them. They were phenomenal.

On maximizing the team: I'm so competitive. I really wanted to win this game. Really, nothing to do with me. When you think about this group, no Jeff Green to start the season and no Chris Wilcox, no Avery Bradley, JO (Jermaine ONeal). If we could have got this group to the Finals, it would have been fantastic for us. That's all I thought about today -- somehow, let's see if we can get this group in the Finals. They deserve it with their will. I hear people at times talk about the NBA as an individual league. I think that theory is gone. This is a team. We had a terrific team effort by everybody.

On development of Rajon Rondo: One of the things I told our guys, I don't ever look at individual stuff. I think you know me by now. I told my guys that before the game. One of the things I love about being a Celtic is that we have 17 banners, that's it, on the wall. We don't have the 30 division championships or the 21 conference championships, and we don't really celebrate the individual stuff. Everybody buys into team around here. Rondo, Paul (Pierce), Kevin (Garnett), I think they sacrifice their individual games so much to try to help the team win. And so for me, that's where I'm the most proud of Rondo. I thought he was phenomenal in that regard. I thought he was our leader on the floor. I thought he did so many things where he had to give of himself for the team, for the better of the team. He had to cut a lot without the ball. He just did so many things and for a coach, I think that's where I'm the most proud of him.
On legacy of the Big Three: I wish we could have had healthy runs. This team won a title, got to another one, a Game 7, where they had a shot to win. Got to the Eastern Conference Finals and one game away on the road, banged up. So I dont know, because of really Kevin's injury, I don't know if we could have gotten any more out of the group. I would have loved to have seen this team in this whole stretch where Kevin was injury-free, but you don't get do-overs. Everybody has injuries, not just us. Chicago, Thibs (Tom Thibodeau) is sitting at home right now thinking, no (Derrick) Rose. It's part of the luck of it. But great group, great team group. I know everybody will look at the Big Three individually -- Kevin, Ray, and Paul. I'm never going to look at them individually. I'm going to look at them as a group collective. They all gave up plus-seven shots each. They gave up minutes. I asked them to play defense and move the ball, and they all did it, and they're willing to do it for the better of the team. So I think that's what we should focus on, how much they gave up to try to win. That's what I'll remember most about them.

On potential end of the Big Three era: Obviously we're all smart, at least you guys are. I think we're going to wait and see what happens with free agency and all that stuff. I honest to gosh hadn't thought much about it, other than the draft, because I was in it. Other than that, I've given zero thought to the whole thing. Danny (Ainge) has talked to me a couple of times recently. I probably didn't hear much. We'll find that out later. I just want to stick with this group, if it's a couple more days, a couple more weeks, or whatever. I just want to stick with them.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

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Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

PHILADELPHIA – Near the end of a preseason game against Charlotte, Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin was killin’ the Hornets with pick-and-roll action.

It was a preseason game that at the time, didn’t seem to have much value other than to get some of the end-of-the-bench guys a little run up and down the court.

But as it turned out, Larkin's play in that game was one of those things head coach Brad Stevens tucked away, knowing at some point he would count on Larkin to provide similar play in a regular season game.

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Well, that game was Friday night at Philadelphia, a game in which several players for Boston stepped their games up in helping the Celtics get their first win of the season, 102-92.

But you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger game-changer for the Celtics in this game, than Larkin.

He finished with 10 points off the bench, eight of which came in the decisive fourth quarter when the Celtics rallied from five-down to get a hard-fought, much-needed victory.

“You have to always be ready for your name to be called, especially when you have injuries,” Larkin said. “You never know whose night it’s gonna be.”

Boston was playing without Marcus Smart who suffered a left ankle sprain in their 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Smart was in the starting lineup having replaced Gordon Hayward who underwent left ankle surgery and is expected to be out for the remainder of this season.

“When coach (Stevens) called my name, I had to go out there and be aggressive, play my game,” Larkin said. “And it worked in our favor.”

And while Stevens had watched Larkin play prior to the Celtics signing him this summer, it was a preseason game against Charlotte that really convinced him that the 5-foot-11 guard could help when called upon.

“You’re always watching,” Stevens said. “And if you remember that exhibition game, he finished out that Charlotte game, just running simple spread pick-and-rolls. He’s such a handful with his speed and quickness, and he allows other guys to play off of him. He’s a small guy, but he makes up for it with his speed and skill.”

Al Horford benefited more than any other Celtic with Larkin’s pick-and-roll play which factored into Horford scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth.

“Shane is a player who understands the game and for us, it was me trying to set a good screen for him and having him make a play,” Horford said. “He just made the right reads, when to shoot it, when to pass it. He just looked very comfortable in that position.”

And to think that Larkin’s big game came about in part because of how well he performed in a preseason matchup against the Hornets.

“I did not know it was that specific game,” Larkin said. “But whenever I step on the court I try to do my best. That’s offensively, defensively, and do what the team needs me to do.

Larkin added, “Whenever my number is called, if he (Stevens) calls it again, I hope he does. I’ll be ready to go out there and do it again.”

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