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'It's always special'

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  January 31, 2010 02:45 PM

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Maybe it only means something to fans in two cities. But make no mistake, Celtics-Lakers means something.

"Obviously it's great to play them," Celtics coach Rivers told an overflow crowd of reporters. "We only get two cracks at them. So it is special. It always is special playing them ... Obviously it's not a normal game whenever you play them."

The first clue that it's not business as usual around here is the throng of media covering the game. About 40 reporters crowded around Rivers in the hallway between the two locker rooms, leading Rasheed Wallace to declare the interview situation a "fire hazard" (technically he was right).

In a way it's a blessing. Coming back from an 0-2 road trip, the Celtics have one more very high-profile chance to make a statement.

"We lost two games," said Rivers. "We're not going to overplay it. In Orlando we obviously handed that back. And Atlanta just beat us. Once those are over we can't get them back. We've been a group that always plays in the forward, and that's what we're doing."

Rivers talked about his bench being "awful" recently before saying "I still trust them." He also predicted Kobe Bryant would continue to guard Rajon Rondo.

"Will Kobe guard Rondo? Probably," said Rivers. "I thought that over the last couple years affected Rondo. But each year he's gotten better at it...when you have a point guard that's not a great shooter, it allows teams to do different things defensively."

But Rivers said every team sags off Rondo, and that his point guard is "getting really good" at figuring out ways to beat it.

"It's something we work on every day," said Rivers.

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