Better chalk it up
Rivers says he doesn’t compare with Jackson
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers said the Celtics will have to overcome Phil Jackson’s coaching to defeat the Lakers for their second title in three years.
“You compare me to Phil, we’re in trouble,’’ Rivers said. “He’s got 10 rings, I’ve got one. I think, obviously, you go by his record, he’s the best coach ever in the game. I told our players you’ve got to be better than me with Phil, for sure.’’
But Paul Pierce credits Rivers with providing the guidance the Celtics needed during the regular season.
“He’s everything to this ball club,’’ Pierce said. “You could see at times, when you play for coaches, and things aren’t going right, practices get harder, they yell at you louder. Doc is a cool customer. He didn’t panic, he didn’t get louder. He just stuck with the game plan.
“A lot of times when you go through a stretch like we went through — we lost five out of six, seven out of 10 — you can tell by a coach’s body language things are going on. You never really saw that in Doc. He came in and said we’re going to get back to work the next day, he always stayed positive and encouraged us, even though things didn’t go well. And that was big for us throughout the year.
“I’m going to put him right up there. He’s definitely taken my career to the next level. You’ve got to put him in there with the top-five coaches. I’ll put Doc right up there with them.’’
As for the possibility of Rivers leaving after the season, Pierce said, “I haven’t really thought about that. That’s stuff for after the season, right now we’re just worrying about winning the championship.’’
However, Rajon Rondo (muscle spasms) “went 75-80 percent of the practice,’’ Rivers said. And Kendrick Perkins is a technical foul from a suspension.
“It’s going to be a physical series and there’s going to be guys that get tangled up under the basket,’’ Rivers said. “There’s going to be officials that want to clean the game up. Perk may be in that and the double technical should not be part of the seven technicals, but it is and it’s a factor. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a factor in this series.’’
As for inside help, Glen Davis’s role could be diminished because of matchups.
“I’m worried because he doesn’t have length, and they’re long,’’ Rivers said. “Offensive rebounding is going to be one of the key factors in this series. So, Baby can box out but if there’s a high rebound I don’t know if he can get it. And we have to be a great rebounding team.’’
Rivers on Lakers star Kobe Bryant: “Forget the talent part, he’s one of the great competitors of our era, he really is. He’s just a driven player. He has the ability to drive himself and will shots. Watching the end of that Phoenix game, those shots, I don’t know how those shots go in. Because it’s him, you didn’t even think it’s a bad shot, because it’s just what he does.
“The key for us is be the Game 6 team against Orlando and not the Game 5 team. The Game 6 team, the ball never stopped moving, the ball found the open guy; Game 5, everyone was trying to will the game for us and do it on their own, and that’s just not who we are. There are teams like that, the Lakers are, at times, but we’re just not. We’re not built that way anymore. We were two years ago, in some ways — now we’re not. So, we’ve just got to stay within what’s been working for us in the playoffs.’’
“Talking to a couple players with Phoenix, that’s the one thing they said right away — rebounding, they killed us on the offensive glass,’’ Rivers said. “They won two games with offensive rebounds already in this playoffs. So, we have to be even better than what we’ve been to have a chance to win this series.’’
Rivers on Kevin Garnett and Wallace thriving in road games: “They’re deaf, they’re so old they can’t hear. They don’t get razzled by the crowd noise, and I think they actually enjoy some of that.’’