Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked during the pre-game press conference what would it take to get Sam Cassell on the floor for tonight’s Game 3.
“I am the boss,” Rivers said. “That’s what’s its going to take. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sam in.”
Q. Is this a team where you can’t afford to play so much help defense?
COACH DOC RIVERS: No, you play your own defense. You don’t switch what you do. We just have to do a couple things better. You know, Game 1 the ball pressure was really good; Game 2 the ball pressure was not very good. I guess if you had to use an example of it, it would be like not rushing Tom Brady, and he sits over and picks your defense apart, the passes would be on target and then you can’t get out to your shooters on time as opposed to putting pressure on the ball and getting some deflections and making some of those passes go off mark.
Q. Talk about taking yesterday off and how important was it to rest the legs and mental rest. Was that really needed yesterday?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, I don’t know if it was needed or not, but I had decided to do it before the game, win or lose. You know, I just thought with the travel, we were probably only going to watch film anyway. Doing that this morning before we went over to shootaround, and then going out on the floor was probably a better way of getting ready for this game. So it did give us rest.
Sometimes the mental rest is probably just as important than the physical rest.
Q. Talk about PJ and him coming out of retirement for this team. And as this playoff has gone on we’ve seen more and more of him.
COACH DOC RIVERS: Lazarus!
Q. Just what his role has been throughout this playoffs for you guys.
COACH DOC RIVERS: He’s just been solid. He’s a solid player. He’s not going to overwhelm you with going off for 40 or anything like that. He’s just solid. He’s solid on the offensive end. Veterans like PJ know what they can do and what they cannot do. He rarely puts himself in a place where he has to do something he knows he can’t do, or he won’t try to do it. You know, that’s been very important, where to go in the right spots offensively. Defensively, his defensive rotations are as good as anybody on our team. That’s very important.
And then the last part of it is length. He’s long. And having that on the floor with Kevin makes us a long basketball team.
Q. When you’ve got a guy who’s retired do you really have a sense of what they can give you when they come back mid season?
COACH DOC RIVERS: No, I had no idea what PJ was going to give us. I knew he hadn’t been out that long, but honestly, he retired for a reason. That’s the one fear you have when you bring back a guy like that, that he either got tired of it or their body didn’t work anymore or a little bit of both. And you don’t know what you’re getting when you bring guys like that back, and we’ve been very lucky in that regard.
Q. Flip said yesterday that Rip and Ray Allen had a little bit of a UConn battle going on about who’s the best player. Do you think that’s even in the back of their mind at all?
COACH DOC RIVERS: I’m sure it is. It’s human. I wouldn’t doubt that. I don’t think any of that gets in the way of the game. But Rip is a great player, and Ray is a great player because of pride. So yeah, I wouldn’t doubt that that was in play at all, not at all.
Q. What’s it going to take for you to get Sam Cassell into a basketball game?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Probably me putting him in (laughter). You know, I’m the boss, so when I say, “Sam!” that’s what it’s going to take.
Q. What’s it going to take for you to get to the point where you look down and say, “Sam!”
COACH DOC RIVERS: More ball pressure. I don’t know, you’ll see. Listen, you’ve been around a little bit, around our team, and we’ve done it by committee, really not at that position, we haven’t had to because we’ve only had Eddie all year, so it’s basically been only Eddie. Now it’s Sam and Eddie. We go not only just on offense but on defense. It’s mostly defense reasons. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw Sam, since I’m going to be the guy that does it (laughter). You know what I’m saying.
Q. Along those lines, what does Stuckey do in terms of match ups for both of those guys?
COACH DOC RIVERS: Well, we probably wouldn’t put either guy on Stuckey. You know, that wouldn’t be anything we would want to do anyway. You know, Stuckey is a guy that wants to attack the basket. He made some jump shots the other night, and he’s capable of making jump shots, but he’s a driver. He wants to get to the paint. He’s a strong body, so you have to have great quickness on him to keep him out of the paint, and you’ve got to play him very physical to keep him out of the paint. That’s more the concern with Stuckey.