Monday, April 28, 2008

Will Doc need malpractice insurance?

To begin, I am not a Doc Rivers basher and actually thought the coach did a great job this season. However, after the Celtics lost to the lowly Atlanta Hawks 102-93 last weekend, one has to question his playoff rotation.

If Doc's plan is to have Sam Cassell play a lot of minutes in an effort to slow down all the greyhounds the Haws have, it's just not working. When you're behind in a play-off game yet keep Eddie House and Tony Allen on the bench, you're losing the athleticism and a 40% 3-point threat that could get you back in the game. When Ray Allen got cold during the season, it was House that would be the spark off the bench to bail the team out of their shooting woes. Now Doc is giving all their minutes to Cassell. Both House and Allen are down from 19 min during the season to 4 min in the playoffs and the Celts' offense and tempo is completely different as a result. On top of that, Doc played the invlauable Leon Powe only 6 min in the last game and kept him on the bench the entire second half. Now if Coach Rivers thought that perhaps Powe did not match-up well with the Hawks, then the 9 point loss on Saturday only proves that he was sadly mistaken.

Finally, Casell's reputation has been that he pressures his coaches for more playing time, so if Doc Rivers is being influenced here (ala John MacNamara & Red Sox vets Jim Rice and Bill Buckner or Grady Little & Pedro) and the substitution pattern that worked so well during the season is now being abandoned in the playoffs, then the season will be a great disappointment and only Doc would be to blame.

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