Pregame Post-Ups: Doc Preaches Importance of Sacrifice for Talent-Laden Teams

Saturday, Feb. 9 - Clippers at Celtics

Pregame – Doc Preaches Importance of Sacrifice for Talent-Laden Teams

BOSTON – When Doc Rivers looks at the depth chart for the current Boston Celtics roster, the first thought that runs through his mind is, “Holy goodness.”

The former C’s coach and current coach of the LA Clippers sees such promise in Boston’s talented group and believes that the key to their long-term success lies in their collective willingness to make sacrifices for one another.

“The sacrifice is what bonds you together,” Rivers said Saturday evening before facing his former team at TD Garden.

“It’s only one ball and only five guys that get to play at a time,” the coach explained. “It’s all about winning, and when that becomes the major focus it works out. When the playoffs start it happens more – I think that’s easier – because it is winning time in the playoffs. I look at them and think they’re in a fine place. They’ll be fine. I don’t see it as an issue.”

Rivers is familiar with the importance of sacrifice, having coached one of the most talented teams in Celtics history. He recalls that when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett joined Paul Pierce and the Celtics in the summer of 2007, every player on the team had to lighten their shot load in order to create a winning system.

It’s not easy getting everyone on board, but the rewards for buying in speak for themselves. For that particular group, it resulted in an NBA championship during their very first season together.

“You tell them what we (the coaches) believe their roles are, and you have to keep selling it and hope they buy into it,” Rivers explained. “It’s not a perfect process. You’ll have stretches where guys buy into it and stretches in the same year where guys try to do more or play outside their roles. You have to keep trying to put it back in the bottle, but at the end of the day, winning is the goal. Winning comes first and then success.”

The current Celtics team struggled to find a consistent winning recipe early in the season, as they started off 10-10. However, they have gradually developed into their roles as the season has gone on. Since that .500 start through the first 20 games, they have owned the third best record in the NBA at 25-10.

As Rivers indicated, what matters most is that things are rolling by the time the Playoffs begin. With a group as talented as this Celtics team, there is plenty of reason to believe.

- Taylor Snow