Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is a nice foil for Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, whose respective teams will square off today at Amway Arena in a playoff rematch. Both work well with the media and provide good quotes, but they have such different personalities that it's amazing they're even in the same profession.
For instance, Van Gundy said, "I feel sorry for people with nothing better to do on Christmas Day than watch an NBA game" and vowed he wouldn't spend "a second" watching any of the other games today; for more on Van Gundy's take on Christmas basketball, I refer you to Tania Ganguli's recap at the Orlando Sentinel.
Moments after Van Gundy spoke, across the arena and worlds apart, Rivers said he grew up watching the Christmas Day basketball games and wished he could play in one. Then he added, "when you get to the league, you don't want it anymore... I changed my mind," with a laugh.
When it comes to strategy, Rivers said being without Paul Pierce and Marquis Daniels, his top two small forwards, will make it tough on him because he'll be at the mercy of what the opponent does. If it goes small, he can do the same and play backup point guard Eddie House at shooting guard. If it goes big, well, he can't do that. "Before, we could dictate the matchups," he said, "and now, that's taken away." Tony Allen will get the nod at small forward today and will guard the Magic's best offensive wing player while he's in the game, but he can mix-and-match based on what the Magic do.
Rivers said he will move Glen Davis, out for the year so far with a broken hand, to the active roster, but said "I just don't want to use him." Among his reasons were Davis' lack of practice time--since training camp, he's taken part in one practice, and it was an abbreviated session--as well as not wanting to put Davis under a lot of pressure. If he plays at less than 100 percent and does not perform, he could wind up putting more pressure on himself, which can set him back more. I thought that explanation was a nice bit of insight into Rivers' connection with his players. He did say, however, that he can play Davis in case another of his big men gets in foul trouble "or something like that," and implied that he could see the floor if the game turns into a blowout.