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Coach in training

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  January 16, 2008 10:57 PM

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In a surprise move, Celtics coach Doc Rivers brought Rajon Rondo into his postgame press conference with him tonight. Celtics players just took an interview class, and Rivers felt the usually reserved Rondo could use some practice.

Here's the complete transcript of Rivers and Rondo, provided by the Celtics PR staff:

Rivers: “Rajon will be answering all of the questions, unless I think it’s a bad one, then I will. No, he’s the coach, so go ahead.”

Q: What did you think about Ray (Allen) tonight:

Rondo: “Ray played excellent for us tonight. Stepped up and made big shots when we needed him down the stretch in the game.”

Q: Why is Rondo here with you?

Rivers: “They had an interview class yesterday and they were told to say no ‘you knows,’ and I heard that that rule has been broken already. Is that correct? By…both, okay. Continue.”

Q: Were you taught to talk in 15-second soundbites?

Rivers: “Yeah, yeah. I break that rule quite a bit, actually.”

Q: Did he make a conscious decision to go to Ray Allen?

Rivers: “Well, ask Rajon. I’ll let Rajon answer it.”

Rondo: “I think, it’s the flow of the game. We found Ray and got him shots. Our key was to go inside to Kevin (Garnett); he’s a great passer. So he got Ray a lot of shots and moved the ball well down the end of the stretch of the game.”

Rivers: “That’s exactly what I was going to say. So, really, Ray had it going. Coming out of the timeouts it was clear where we were trying to go. We used Paul (Pierce) as the passer to get it to Ray, and try to go two-man game with Kevin and Ray. We just thought those were our two best options tonight, and it worked.”

Re getting things going again:

Rondo: “Yeah, it gives the players a lot of confidence. You know, speaking from a player’s prospective. He (Doc) played as well.”

Rivers: “A long time ago.”

Rondo: “It was a good thing to have Ray get going with a night with 35 points tonight. So we can get it from all aspects from everybody on the team. We know our roles. We went over them a little better…the past couple days. Ray came out and shot the ball well for us. Other guys stepped up as well. Gabe (Pruitt) came in and gave us a big lift off the bench. Baby (Davis) came in and gave us a couple of rebounds as well. So it was still a team effort but Ray got the shine tonight.”

Re Pruitt:

Rivers: “Yeah, he was great. He had shots, which is good. But I was more excited on the defensive end. Got a couple digs. Strips. So he was terrific.”

Rondo: “Like Coach said, offensive end you can’t really control whether the ball goes in or not. He took the shots with confidence. He came out and hit his first shot during the first break and the next five he shot, I thought they were all going to go in. But like Coach said, on the defensive end he got a lot of strips on the ball. He played well, solidly. He got though a lot of picks…and he did very well tonight, especially coming off his first game.”

Re did you miss having Rondo in the game:

Rondo: “Really, you know, we got the win, so that’s what it’s all about.”

Rivers: “We actually missed Rondo. Rajon. Close. Bruiser’s a killer’s name, so I just go to Rondo, it’s easier. … I would rather see him a uniform, although personally this might be my best press conference that I’ve had in quite some time. I would much rather see him in a uniform.”

Re difference from recent games:

Rivers: “I don’t know. You don’t like losing, so losing – you don’t enjoy it, obviously. But as far as the team I don’t think we’re much different. What we talked about, we talk about improving every day. So nothing changes. I think I said it before the game – after a win, I come in and say ‘guys, this is what we have to work on.’ After a loss, ‘this is what we have to work on.’ We know that we’re not a finished project.”

Rondo: “Like what Coach was saying, we know we don’t want to hit the panic button; it’s a long season. And it’s a process that we have to go through. We lost two games in a row but I think we responded well tonight, with a win tonight.”

Rivers: “That’s a good team, by the way. They’re really good. You see them on film but you don’t appreciate their quickness until it’s right up in front of you, and they’re really good.”

Rivers: “You know what Ray had been building was pulling away on pick and rolls instead of attacking shoulders. And I thought he just attacked; he was aggressive. Didn’t do a lot of dancing with the ball tonight. Straight-line drives. We try to set picks for Rajon. We try to set them for Gabe, Paul, and Ray, in our pick and roll package. And he really took advantage of it tonight. And also it was great that we got him and Kevin involved. They didn’t want to leave Kevin. If you don’t want to leave Kevin, then you’ve got to leave Ray. And that was good for us.”

Rivers: “Thank you guys, Rajon, say thank you.”

Rondo: “Thank you, I appreciate it.”

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