Rivers talks Marathon tragedy, Knicks
On the Toronto Raptors introducing the Celtics Wednesday night with "Sweet Caroline" playing in the background: "Yeah, they suggested it before the game. They asked us if we would like it and I said it would be great. I jokingly said after the game I wish some of the Canadians knew the words to the song, it would have made it a little bit better, but it was really nice. It was very touching, both teams standing together. All that, it was great."
On where he was during Monday's Boston Marathon bombings: "Well I do what I usually do if it's Patriots Day and the marathon. We're not in town a lot, but when we are, I like to go down and just check it out. I live three blocks away, so we had practice, I got dressed pretty quick and got in the tunnel. I was coming out of the tunnel right when it happened, and I didn't have my radio on, so I didn't know what was going on, and I just noticed people, literally running around. And then my phone rang, and I think it was my assistant who told me what was going on and so, obviously, I didn't have any hardship, personally, except for trying to navigate through people.
"What I witnessed more was just how quickly, in my opinion, the city went to work, and I'm not talking just the first responders. What I did get to witness was it felt like hundreds -- it wasn't -- but it felt like hundreds of ambulances and fire trucks roaring by me, because I was on Huntington Avenue, which is the next block. But what I saw that was really neat for a person who lives in Boston -- you see the pride -- I saw a guy in a suit and tie directing traffic. I saw guys hugging. I saw people just trying to help each other and that's what struck me. Obviously the fear was there and you could see that. But also, the pride, and 'I'm going to protect my city and make it right' was there as well. And I was just really proud. That's what I was struck with most of anything, I was really proud to be part of the city."
On whether Boston feels like his town: "Oh, absolutely. I grew up in Chicago and that'll always be in me, if you know what I'm saying. I grew up 18 years there. But I've been nine years here, and this is, for me, this is it for me, as far as a city. That doesn't mean someday I get fired or get old and come back like Phil Jackson may do, but this will never get out of you, this city, this place. And I think a lot of people who have been here -- and really, guys, you probably don't appreciate it because you live here -- but I really think a lot of it is because of the passion of the fans. You get engrossed in that, it becomes part of you. You don't get that, you really don't -- I've coached in one other city, but I've played in a lot of other places, and it's rare that you get the true passion, is what I call it. Anyone joins on when you're winning. Very few places are in all the time, and this is a city that is in, if you know what I'm saying."
On preparing for the playoffs with Monday's events still in mind: "What happened will be on our minds. I don't think you should erase it. Again, like I said the other day, it is part of you and that's what it is. ... One of things I've never let go of and I understand more than anything -- athletes have a human life, if you know what I'm saying. A lot of times a guy will have a bad game and fans or the media wants to know why and you just say, 'He didn't play well,' but you may know why for real. Maybe he had a personal issue at home that affected him, so this may affect us, but I'm hoping it'll affect us in a positive way."
On convincing his team it can beat the Knicks in the playoffs: "That's your job and we have a bunch of confident guys. I'm going to say a lot to them, but it's going to be more about how we have to play and how we have to execute. Execution gives you confidence. It's no different than when you go to class and you feel like you've studied hard enough and you know all the answers. You walk in with a lot of confidence. And when you don't think you've studied hard enough, you're hoping that they ask the right questions. We don't want to get in that place. We want to walk in to the Garden believing we can win and understanding that we've prepared the right way."
On slowing down Carmelo Anthony: "Well we do have to limit the other guys, but I don't subscribe to the theory that (Anthony's) going to get what he's going to get. He may get it, but we have to make him work for it. And if he gets it, it has to be 40 points on 40 shots, not 40 points on 15 shots, and I think that's the key, at least for the part of Carmelo in this series. He's going to get a lot of shots. We know that and he's going to make some tough shots, but we just have to make every catch tough and every shot tough. Because if it becomes easy for him, then it's going to be tough to win the series."
On who will guard Anthony: "I think it's going to take a collection of guys. I think Paul Pierce will guard him at times, I think Brandon Bass will guard him at times, and I think Jeff Green will guard him at times. But I really think our ball pressure is as important. The more we can pressure the ball, the harder it becomes to get him the ball on his spot, and that's going to be very important for us."
On who pays for dinner when the players go out together: "I can tell you, if Kevin Garnett goes, he's paying every single time. And he makes a point of it. It's not even a discussion."
On whether he ever picks up the check: "Well I have a team rule since I've coached, and, of all the guys, it's Paul Pierce ... My rule is, if I'm in a restaurant, and any player -- I don't care who he's with, family -- I have to pay. And this year we found out Paul Pierce, I think like eight different times on the road, walked into a restaurant that I was in. Well I found out he was getting information from our equipment manager. He was actually asking where I was going so he could go."
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