This is how you handle a veteran team that knows what is needed in the playoffs. Doc Rivers gets it.
Boston is making a longer playoff run than everyone not wearing green-tinted glasses expected, and they are doing it without traditional practices. From the New York Times.
Rajon Rondo joked last week that he thought the last time the team had a real practice was “probably like nine months ago.” He is not that far off.
The last time the Celtics practiced was before the start of the playoffs in April — and that was only because they were given an extra day between the end of the regular season and the start of their first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks. They have done nothing in the playoffs but watch film and go through game plans on day-of-game shootarounds. It is Allen Iverson’s ideal situation.
Frankly, there are fewer practices during an NBA season than fans realize — there just isn’t time with travel and games. That was particularly true this season. Still, this speaks to a coach who has the pulse of his team.
After five seasons and playoffs together (at least the core), this team knows what it takes to win in the playoffs. What matters more than drills is health — keeping the older legs fresh, letting the bumps and bruises from playoff dives to the floor for loose balls heal up. You watch film, you talk and walk through strategy, then you trust that your veterans know how to apply that come game time.
You treat them like adults, not high schoolers. It is how Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich coach, and it’s worked out pretty well for those two.
Hassan Whiteside defends himself when questions about his maturity early in his career with the Kings arise:
“That was a long time ago,” Whiteside said. “If they want to think about things that happened four, five years ago, that’s up to them.
“I don’t think it’s something that should follow me, but I really don’t know right now. That was years ago. Things didn’t work out in Sacramento. I worked my way to get back here. I could’ve easily gave up and went back home and just chilled. But I put in the work, and I feel like I’m a hard worker or I wouldn’t be here.”
But then he does something like this.
Rodney Hood got the Jazz to overtime.
Gordon Hayward took it from there.
This extends Utah’s win streak to eight games and snaps a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. The last time the Jazz won in Dallas? Mavericks guard Deron Williams started – for Utah.*
*Those Jazz brought Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews off the bench. Dang
Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.
Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.
The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.
But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.
Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.
Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.