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News » Rivers prefers holidays off

Rivers prefers holidays off

Rivers prefers holidays off
Allen Iverson made it clear years ago that he's not a big fan of practice, but he made headlines this week when he skipped a Detroit Pistons practice on Thanksgiving to spend the day with his family.

Pistons coach Michael Curry responded by fining Iverson and not starting him last night against Milwaukee. Iverson entered the game late in the first quarter and finished with 17 points.

Iverson wouldn't have had to worry about practicing on Thanksgiving if he played for the Celtics. In his decade as an NBA head coach with Boston and Orlando, Doc Rivers can't remember ever calling a practice for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The Celtics, however, will play at the Lakers this Christmas.

"I've always tried to keep things in perspective as far as family goes," Rivers said.

Rivers wanted to be with his family as much as his players wanted to be with theirs. He flew home to Orlando after Wednesday's game to spend Thanksgiving with his mother, wife and children. "I look at it as one day," Rivers said. "I don't think one day is going to make or break your season."

Ray Allen said the Celtics appreciate that Rivers gives them time off, not only on holidays.

"Most of us here have families," he said, "we have kids, wives. We know when Doc has the opportunity, he wants to spend the time with his kids. More so than any other coach I've ever had in the NBA, he knows these days when we're not playing games are valuable for guys to get rest, for guys to get away from Basketball and spend time with their families. The season is way too long to not do that."

Rivers refused to second-guess Curry for practicing on Thanksgiving because the Pistons are still learning to play with Iverson. Detroit was only 5-5 in its first 10 games after acquiring him. Rivers wasn't sure if he would have faced a mutiny if he did practice on Thanksgiving.

"You could face that," he said. "I don't think our guys would do that, but you never know."

Allen has practiced on Thanksgiving and Christmas for other teams. He wouldn't like it if the Celtics did, but he insists he wouldn't skip it.

"No, I wouldn't," Allen said. "I'd come in, I'd be griping, I'd be complaining, I'd be dropping my head like this like a little kid, but you just come in. That's everything you do. You get on the treadmill, and you don't want to do it, and you talk trash about it, but that's what motivates you to do it. Those days are the days that when you win anything, when you win a conference title, a division title or the championship, you forget those days."

Allen said he's received more days off during the season under Rivers than under any other coach in his career. "Toward the end of the season," Allen said, "bodies feel great, people are fresh and more rested. So when it's time to go hard, we know what we have to do."

The time off has helped Paul Pierce stay fresh.

"I feel pretty good for the most part," Pierce said. "Just the normal nicks and bruises. You get bumps and bruises throughout the course. It's nothing more than that with me."

Sam suits up

Celtics guard Sam Cassell dressed last night for the first time this season while Gabe Pruitt wasn't even on the bench.

"He's not feeling good," Rivers said of Pruitt. "He probably ate too much turkey. Maybe we should have practiced."

Different Brand

Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said his team doesn't run as much this season because it doesn't force as many turnovers. Last year, the Sixers forced more TOs by going with a smaller lineup. This year, they've added forward Elton Brand.

"I look at them," Rivers said, "to be a better running team eventually because they're a better rebounding team with Elton Brand."

Off to Charlotte

The Celtics visit the Bobcats at 7 tonight. They are 4-1 in the second games when they play on back-to-back nights. They'll play on back-to-back nights 17 times this season.

In their last visit to Charlotte, they blew away the Bobcats, 101-78, on April 5 even though Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett all sat out the game to rest.

In their first visit to Charlotte last season, Eddie House knocked away Jason Richardson's in-bounds pass. Pierce picked the ball up and got it to Allen, who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game, 96-95.

The Celtics are 6-1 on the road while Charlotte is 4-6 at home.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 30, 2008


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