Locked out or not, Rivers prepares for the season

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Locked out or not, Rivers prepares for the season

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
BOSTON This summer, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers traveled to China to watch his son, Austin, a member of the Duke basketball team. Later this week, he's headed to Belgrade to see his oldest son, Jeremiah. And you can bet he's checked in a few times with his daughter, Callie, whom Rivers says is in graduate school at the University of North Carolina.

After deep playoff runs with the Celtics that took up most of the spring and left him drained in the summer, Rivers loves being able to hit the road and see his kids seemingly whenever he wants to.

"I needed a little break," he said on Monday as the C's celebrated their 25th year as a corporate partner of New England Baptist Hospital. "I have it now."

Rivers, like most NBA coaches and fans, media, etc. is ready for the NBA season to get started.

But there's this itty-bitty snag in that plan, better known to you and me as the NBA lockout, which is now in its fourth month of existence.

The players union and owners have been meeting more frequently the past couple of weeks, but progress toward a new deal has been moving with glacier-like quickness.

Some preseason games (43) have already been canceled, with more expected to be wiped out soon.

Each day passing without a deal in place puts the expected Nov. 1 start of the season in greater jeopardy.

"It's tough," Rivers said of not knowing when the season will begin. "You're just used to working, preparing and getting ready."

While the work load isn't nearly what it usually is this time of year, Rivers and his staff haven't spent the entire summer on the golf course.

Rivers said he's "driving his coaches crazy" this week as they gather to start discussing this upcoming season.

They'll meet every day until he leaves to see Jeremiah play for KK Mega Visura, a team in Serbia's A League.

Just because there are no games to be played and no players they can work with doesn't mean Rivers and his staff can sit back and relax.

"We have to do our jobs," Rivers said. "We have to prepare and when they say go, we'll be ready to go."

Every season presents a different set of challenges for Rivers, and this one will be no different.

However, making things more complicated are the many unknowns for both the Celtics and the NBA as a whole.

That's why Rivers and his staff were up late Sunday night, brainstorming over the various options that they'll have to consider once the NBA owners and players union reach an agreement on a new CBA.

"Well, we have all kinds of plans," Rivers said. "But we don't know what the plans will be until everything is done. We're just going to be patient and when they say 'go,' we'll be ready to go."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.