Hearing that the starting lineup for the Eastern Conference all-star team won't include a player from the best team in the conversation was slightly puzzling to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
For the first time since Kevin Garnett came to Boston, he was not voted to start by the fans. He was edged out by Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire. Rajon Rondo was passed up by Derrick Rose for the starting point guard spot.
"Listen, you look at our record, to have no starters is surprising," Rivers said. "But not really because we're such a team. We're not a bunch with individuals who stand out, but I think because of the record, they should stand out. Hopefully, all four are on it. I think they should be, and we'll see."
Rivers, who is in position to be tapped as head coach for the East, is holding out for the possibility of four Celtics starters (Garnett, Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce) being named by the coaches. Four Pistons (Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace) were all selected in 2006. Ironically, Pierce was the on floor as the pretend Tayshaun Prince.
"It's rare, but I think in some ways, Larry Brown's team played the right way, and I think that's how we played," Rivers said. "I think we've proven that with our play, and that's why we win games. We need each other. Everybody relies on each other. Everybody sacrifices their individual game for the betterment of the team. Sometimes, when you get into all-star stuff, that's hurts them and that's too bad."
If Rondo, Garnett, Allen and Pierce all made it, Rivers said he would put them all on the floor at the same time.
"If they're all four in and I happen to be the coach, I would play them all together and they would not play a lot," Rivers said. "I would probably play all those other guys a lot of minutes. Derrick [Rose] would play 48."
On the whole, Rivers was lobbying for his players to be named among the reserves.
"As long as all of them make it -- or all get rest -- that's not all bad either," Rivers said.