Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers: “We’re just going to let Ray keep talking”


Among the many reasons I’m excited for the NBA season to tip off next week is that with games going on, maybe Ray Allen and the Celtics will stop talking about each other. Please, please stop talking about each other.

Of course, they play each other opening night — Allen’s new team the Heat and the Celtics next Tuesday — so maybe we’ll have to suffer through this “conversation” about how and why Allen left Boston a little longer.

The other day Allen kept talking, saying his feud with Rajon Rondo went back to 2009 when they were both almost traded to Phoenix. Doc Rivers doesn’t really see it that way, said so then added a little barb when speaking to A. Sherrod Blakely of

“I didn’t even know it, so I’m surprised right now,” Rivers said. “I never knew that, I don’t think [the trade rumor is] true.

“We’re just going to let Ray keep talking, it’s easier.”

What I think we all want — including Celtic and Heat fans — if for both sides to just shut up about it. You don’t get along now, Allen felt disrespected, we get it. Move on. (I feel like I’m talking to my four-year-old here.)

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.