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As snow blanketed Boston over the weekend, leaving upward of 2 feet in many areas, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he shoveled “a ton,” watched a lot of basketball, and made gumbo, which he described as “terrific.”
He did venture outside for a bit because his oldest son, Jeremiah, was in town and wanted to see what blizzard conditions were like.
“He’s from Florida, and he’s never been in one, so I thought he should experience it,” Rivers said Sunday, before his team beat Denver, 118-114, in triple overtime at TD Garden.
“We walked about a half-block, and he wanted to turn around. That was disappointing. But it was cool. It was really neat seeing the city with no one in it, at least no cars. It was great.”
The Celtics entered Sunday’s game after two days off. The team had planned to practice Saturday, but canceled it because of the snow.
“Trust me, we tried everything we could [Saturday], even into the evening,” Rivers said, adding that the Celtics’ director of team security, Phil Lynch, advised against it.
Rivers said he contemplated holding a practice Sunday morning but decided against it. The Celtics also did not hold a morning shootaround. They did, however, come to TD Garden in the afternoon to hold a walkthrough at “a real pace,” Rivers said.
“I don’t know what that does, but it makes me feel better,” Rivers said.
Denver played Cleveland Saturday and then headed to Boston. Logan Airport reopened at about 11 p.m. Saturday, and a Nuggets official said the team landed around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Denver coach George Karl said his team was in bed by about 3:30 a.m.
Because of how late the team got in, and because it was playing on the second of a back-to-back, Karl said the energy level of his players was going to be an interesting, if not key, factor of the game.
At the start of the game, though, the Celtics looked like they were in a rhythm while Denver looked asleep. The Celtics jumped out to a 12-0 lead and the Nuggets had more turnovers (five) than shots (four). By the end of the game, the Celtics had more stamina — or at least it seemed that way after several Denver jumpers hit the front of the rim.
“It was a fun game, but I’m sure everybody was tired,” Denver’s Andre Miller said.
After the game, Kevin Garnett, who played 47 minutes, the most he’s played as a Celtic, said he told Rivers, “I wasn’t built for this.”
Deja vu for Karl
Karl knows what Boston is going through in losing a key player, then going on a hot streak. The Nuggets dealt star Carmelo Anthony to New York on Feb. 22, 2011, and Denver won 18 of its next 25 games to close the regular season. Several Nuggets, including those received in the deal for Anthony, stepped up. Of the Celtics, who are playing without All-Star guard Rajon Rondo, Karl said, “With Rondo on the court, you had more of a non-shooting team. They have more of a shooting team now.”
Karl added, “They’re unique. They’re a jump-shooting team, and they have a lot of guys that can make them.” More than anything, Karl credits Paul Pierce, who he said has been “incredible.”
Back to Boston
Hours before tipoff, the Celtics recalled rookie center Fab Melo from their NBDL team, the Maine Red Claws.
Melo played one game with Maine during his most recent assignment, and had 6 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes against Bakersfield Friday.
Melo, who did not play Sunday, is averaging 11.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.45 blocks in 27.4 minutes per game in his 20 contests with Maine.
Denver entered the game in fourth place in the Western Conference, riding a league-high nine-game winning streak. But no Nugget was named to the All-Star team. Instead, the team is winning with balance: six of its players average double-digit points.
So, how would Karl feel about being named the NBA’s Coach of the Year? “I don’t want Coach of the Year,” he said. “Coach of the Year usually gets fired.”
Karl’s remark was in reference to the firing of Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson one month after he was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in November.
Rivers praised the up-tempo, do-it-by-committee style of Denver, a style typical of a team coached by Karl and one that the Celtics have been playing lately. However, Rivers didn’t think his team could be as balanced as Denver.
“Because we have a guy named Paul Pierce on our team that’s pretty good and Kevin Garnett,” Rivers said.
Garnett said he was “baffled” that Denver has no All-Stars, adding that “the league really needs to check itself.”