If you were one of the rapt fans who marveled at Warriors guard Stephen Curry's 54-point outburst vs. the Knicks Wednesday night, you were in good company. Celtics coach Doc Rivers told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show Thursday that he was awed by the performance just like everyone else. Curry made 11 3-pointers. His team visits TD Garden Friday night.
"The way he shot the ball and the shots he got, he's just a great shooter," said Rivers. "He's the best shooter in our league."
Curry hasn't had much success in two previous games in Boston, where he's averaged 11 points and is 8 for 21 from the field, 2 for 8 on 3-pointers. But he's obviously a different player this season after finally overcoming injury and getting comfortable. Asked how he would slow Curry down, Rivers said, "Well, you foul him [laughs]. When a guy gets in a zone like that it's just hard. It's so easy to say deny him, but he's the point guard. He always has the ball in his hands."
One way the Celtics will slow Curry down is with their best on-ball defender, Avery Bradley. Rivers praised his young guard for his defense during Monday night's overtime win over Utah. The coach had an interesting take.
"You think about the Jazz game, and the size advantage they had," said Rivers. "As the game went on, they went less and less to the post. They didn't have enough time. Avery single-handedly took them out of their post game."
A couple of other notes:
-- Rivers said he didn't think Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett were going to be traded before last week's deadline.
"Danny [Ainge], he's working and is going to do the best to make the team better for now and the future. I just didn't feel like, from what I heard, anything was gonna happen."
On his two veterans, Rivers said, "I think they'll be great when the playoffs start. I think they'll be better, because there's more rest. And our key is to get them there fresh."
-- On working new players Jordan Crawford, Terrence Williams, and D.J. White into the lineup, Rivers said, "They're not going to pick up everything. Trying to teach them the things that you really need them to pick up, defensively and offensively, and then trying to integrate the things they do well."