Adjustments a team affair for Celtics

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Adjustments a team affair for Celtics

WALTHAM -- During a timeout in Game 3, Marquis Daniels pulled Doc Rivers aside and spoke into his ear as the coach listened over the noise of the crowd.

Rivers has an open communication policy with his players, welcoming any advice or suggestions they have in games, practice, or whenever an idea hits them.

I listen to my players, Rivers said on Saturday. They are the ones on the floor, honestly. I can only see so much, and so can my staff. I talk to them all either right before the game or after the game, rather, and tomorrow morning. Some will text. We have an open communication.

With that open line of conversation comes in-game adjustments. Depending on matchups or trends in the game, the Celtics could have to change their strategy at any point in the night.

Take the reaction to the Miami Heats small lineup in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals as an example. The Celtics began feeding the ball to Kevin Garnett and they successfully exploited the size difference, cutting the Heat's series lead to 2-1.

The C's have confidence in their coach to make the necessary changes for a win.

That's what he gets paid for, joked Rajon Rondo, before adding on a more serious note, You look at his resume. Doc, with this team, he's been pretty successful the last four or five years. He's a great coach. He knows what he's doing. He's being paid the big bucks. He's showing up to work every day and making adjustments. I'm biased, but I think he's the best coach in the league.

With all of his success as a head coach, Rivers continues to take his players feedback into consideration.

I always kid them, he smiled. I usually say, When you want to make an adjustment, it's usually because your guy is kicking your butt, so you want to try to change the coverage somehow. And I joke and say, Only team adjustments will we make, not individual adjustments. We laugh about that a lot.

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

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Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”