Amid talk of possible playoff matchups, Rivers offered this bit of logic: The team you want to avoid the most is the one that will the undisputed best player on the floor. So Western Conference teams should be threatened by the Lakers and Kobe Bryant, but also by the Thunder and Kevin Durant whereas in the East a team like Miami — who would face the Celtics in the 4-5 matchup if the season ended today — would be a problem with Dwyane Wade.
Adding to that problem is that in recent games, the Celtics have struggled to keep a lid on those star-caliber scorers, something they typically pride themselves on. Between Manu Ginobili (28 points), Kevin Durant (37), Aaron Brooks (30) and LeBron James (42) the last four stars the Celtics have faced stuck them for an average of 34.3 points on 43 of 87 shooting (49.4 percent), knocking down 46 of 51 FTs.
“The fact is that the stars are beating us now,” Rivers said. “That’s something we’ve never allowed for the most part. Stars have had good numbers, but not great percentages. You look at LeBron, Ginobili, Durant in a row, they’ve been pretty good against us. So we may have to do more things.
Wade’s averaged 33.7 points, 8.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds in three losses to the Celtics (all by fewer than 10 points).
“That scares you going into the playoffs because, say if you do draw Miami, Wade is the second best player out of Marquette,” said Rivers, who also played at to Marquette. “He’s a terrific player. He’s tough. OK, he’s first.”