Rivers: It's all about the players

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Rivers: It's all about the players

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. To build off of Sunday's thrilling win over the Los Angeles Lakers should be enough incentive for the Boston Celtics when they play the Sacramento Kings tonight.

But in case they needed add motivation, a victory tonight would mean that Doc Rivers and his staff will coach the Eastern Conference all-stars later this month in Los Angeles.

"I don't know if that's good news or not," quipped Rivers.

Miami (34-14) is the only team in the East with a shot at surpassing the Celtics.

The cut-off date for being chosen as the Eastern conference coach is Feb. 6.

Boston (36-11) would have to lose its remaining three games between now and then, while the Heat would have to win its remaining three games in order for the C's staff to not get the assignment.

Throughout the C's recent run of success, Rivers has repeatedly downplayed his role.

Not surprisingly, on the eve of yet another all-star coaching nod, Rivers sticks to the script.

"Well it means you have good players," he told CSNNE.com. "It really does. And you have good players, playing together."

Maybe so, but there's no mistaking the impact that Rivers has had on this team.

It is particularly noticeable this season when you consider how he has managed to keep the C's among the NBA's elite despite a rash of injuries that would have decimated most teams.

Rivers admits that would make this all-star coaching selection even better than the one he had four years ago.

But Rivers, as you might expect, isn't taking anything for granted.

"This year, if it does happen, it would be good in that way," Rivers said. "We've had a hell of a month. To end January the way we've done it is pretty special with all the injuries and distractions we had. That would make it better."

For veterans like Paul Pierce who has been with the C's throughout Rivers' tenure, being the head coach of the all-star team would only validate his status as one of the game's premiere head coaches.

"It shows how great and under-rated a coach Doc is," Pierce said. "He's done a fabulous job with the players he's had throughout his career. Whether good or bad, even when we weren't winning, he was still a great coach, just the way he developed the players. It's a testament to a great job that he has done, truthfully."

Indeed, Rivers has managed to push all the right buttons at just the right time, all season.

When you look back at the Celtics' 109-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the stars for the C's was Nate Robinson.

He came in missing 20 of his previous 29 shots from the field, and Rivers said he was giving serious thought to not playing Robinson at all.

But something made him decide to give Robinson another shot.

That faith was rewarded with Robinson delivering 11 much-needed points off the bench.

Even though it was Rivers' call to give Robinson a chance to play, he credits the success that night and Robinson's play, to Robinson.

"It always starts with the players," Rivers said.
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

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Steve Bulpett joins Mike Felger to weigh in on the NBA trade deadline and the lack of moves made by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics thus far.

Drummond on tweets and trade talk: 'I can change my profile if I want to'

Drummond on tweets and trade talk: 'I can change my profile if I want to'

BOSTON – If you believe what Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons are saying, then the former UConn star will not be on the move prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ESTtrade deadline.

Drummond, whose social media posts on Monday and later Tuesday morning only perpetuated the belief that he might be traded to Boston, addressed the trade speculation surrounding him after the Piston’s practice on Tuesday.

“What’s that got to do with my team?” he told reporters. “I can’t control what happens with trade rumors.”

Drummond was then reminded of the eyeballs emoji he posted Tuesday morning, which came less than 24 hours after he re-tweeted Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas’ eyeballs emoji – a similar posting to what Thomas did around the time Boston landed Al Horford last summer.

So as fans and media tried to piece the tweets together like they were clues to a Jessica Fletcher mystery, Drummond did his best to splash cold water on the trade talk on Tuesday.

“I’m a grown man,” he said. “I can change my profile if I want to. It doesn’t matter what time of year. If y’all want to speculate about that and me, go for it.”

Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy has made no secret about the Pistons having conversations with several teams about all their players.

“Some discussions get more serious than others and that’s what happens,” Van Gundy told reporters following the team’s practice on Tuesday. “There hasn’t been a serious discussion about Andre, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been discussions about Andre.

Van Gundy added, “The rumors don’t mean anything to me. One of you (media) guys asked me over the weekend how far along the D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green trade for Reggie was. The first time I heard about it was when I got that text, so I would assume not that far. I usually can just laugh it off, but it gets a little annoying.”