"They're not doing anything they haven't done all series. We let our guard down! And it's clear, that we gotta go get it! We know it's going to be hard anyway, we caused this ... we gotta go get it!"- (Doc Rivers to his team after the Knicks and the corpse of Anthony Carter gave them a scare in Game 4.)
The Celtics responded ... emphatically. Thanks to Doc Rivers.
We've heard a lot about Doc's excellent coaching skills and him being an amazing fit for a team like the Boston Celtics. That's why knowing this might well be his last season (for the meantime) makes me all the more appreciate the value he brings when the game is particularly on the line.
In the end, the one taking the shot or making the defensive play might not be successful, but the play itself that Doc creates is a work of art. Obviously in the offensive end there are many options you can go with in the last seconds of the game, whether it's a three that's called for or a quick two, but the way he diagrams it and makes it possible for the Celtics to "have their way" in the waning seconds is a thing of beauty. I'm sure many are still contesting the validity of Boston's first two wins over New York in Game 1 and 2 and probably if not for a coach like Rivers, an open look for Ray Allen and an iso play for Kevin Garnett wouldn't be possible or wouldn't go as planned.
Then there's that ability to recover fast when their opponent is making a run or pulling away. I'm taken back to last year's playoffs, Game 1 in the first round vs Miami. The Heat were pulling away and making the Cs look like a shell of themselves when Doc called that crucial timeout and brought life back in their game simply through his words. There's also Game 2 and 6 in the second round vs Cleveland when LeBron's then team was making a furious comeback in the last quarters. Doc called for a huddle, told his team they can't play like LBJ (one-man basketball) and that they got to do this together. The result? Clarity for the Celtics and no comeback was every completed.
There are many more instances in previous seasons as well as this season. Point is, we don't just have clutch players. We also have a clutch coach.
Doc's words are brief and concise but because he knows what to say, how and when to say it ... his words are able to leave an imprint in his players, who trust him and the result is often excellence of execution.
If this is truly his last season with the city of Boston, then I'm enjoying every bit of this postseason ride.
12 more wins.