WALTHAM - After two losses in Atlanta, some Celtics talked about the benefit of coming home for Game 5 of this first-round series. Such talk sounds good in theory, but coach Doc Rivers doesn't want to rely on that in itself.
Rivers wants his team to give the home crowd something to cheer about "by supplying the energy" to get ahead in this best-of-seven series, which is tied, 2-2.
"We're fine," Rivers said. "We just have to play better. We can do that. But I did get on them about the 'We'll go home and everything will be OK' line. That's a bunch of [garbage]. I don't want them to think that you could show up and just play.
"You got to go play. Your crowd is going to be phenomenal. They are going to be behind you. But you're going to have to give them fuel to get behind you still."
Rivers is secondRivers finished a strong second to New Orleans's Byron Scott for the NBA Coach of the Year award. In balloting by 125 sportswriters and broadcasters, Rivers received 23 first-place votes and a total of 242 points, while Scott had 70 first-place votes and 458 points. "I do think Byron absolutely deserved it," Rivers said. "Rick Adelman [of Houston] should have been second. Those were the two." . . . New Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was an assistant with the franchise when James Posey played for Miami from 2005-07, and Posey believes he will be a solid NBA coach. "I'm happy for E, I like him," said Posey, who won an NBA title with Miami in 2006. "He did a good job of preparing us. He understands the game. He's going to be a good coach. He's learned a lot from Pat [ Riley]. He did a good job when I was there." As for Riley, who will remain as team president after stepping down as coach, Posey said, "I was a little surprised. But you know yourself as well as anybody, so if you feel it's time, that's when you make that decision. I was surprised. Riles has been through a lot the last couple of years, and sometimes it takes its toll."
The candidate?Reports continue to swirl that Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau is a candidate for head coaching jobs in Chicago and New York . . . Reebok is sponsoring a "Green Out" for Game 5 tonight, handing out green T-shirts to all fans. "We decided to hand out these tees at tonight's game as an incentive to motivate fans to make the Garden the league's most energetic arena," said Reebok director of basketball Chris Rivers.
Marc J. Spears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org