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.