Doc’s Stroke Of Genius

paul pierceThe big knock on Doc Rivers has always been his substitution patterns.  They never made sense.

This year, he’s looking like a genius.

It all has to do with the second quarter… and Paul Pierce.

Paul Pierce has pretty much spent his whole career carrying a team full of marginally talented guys.  It’s no secret… Paul is a pure, unadulterated scorer… and it doesn’t matter who the rest of the guys on the team are… Paul will get his and carry the team. 

So when it comes time to make substitutions in the second quarter, Pierce is the obvious choice to stay on the floor while KG and Ray grab a breather.  Paul can go back to being the primary threat for most of the quarter… and then he can have a seat before halftime.

The results?  The Celtics have outscored their opposition 203-128 in the second quarters of games so far this year… which is an average of 29-18.  If you throw out the Toronto game… in which Toronto outscored Boston 17-15 in the second quarter… the average jumps to 31-18 Celtics.

It’s a little decision early in games… but it has a huge impact.  The psychological effect of going into halftime on a run is huge for the C’s… and tough for opponents.  For all the grief Doc Rivers has taken in his time here, this is something that should earn him some praise.

Matty G was at last night’s game.  He got postgame sound for us.  Here’s about 7 minutes of Doc Rivers… and 11 minutes of KG and Pierce.  Also check out his write up after last night’s game on

Herald:  C’s perfect to a fault  |  Loss leaves Nets green with envy  |  Extras keep C’s on role  |  Tony gets in gear at right time  |  Ex-Eagle finds new home  |  Globe:  Seven C’s  |  Nets’ Williams progressing  |  Garnett not up for Olympics  |  Worcester T&G:  Big 3 want to improve  |  C’s get lucky 7  |  Cape Cod Times:  It’s all working for the C’s  |  South Coast Today:  Celtics have already stolen Atlantic show  |  KG Player of the Week photo gallery  |  ESPN Insider:  Celtics D among Hollinger’s surprises  |  NY Daily News: C’s rout Nets, improve to 7-0  |  Elsewhere:  Pistons tried to get Kobe  

 photo courtesy Getty Images


5 Responses

  1. Anyone notice how Bill Simmons hasnt mentioned Doc Rivers name since the season started? You would think that after all that bashing he would throw him some praise. Guess not.
    l’ll admit I was very skeptical about Doc being the right guy for this job now, but so far he’s done a great job now that he has players who are old enough to drink. Maybe Thibedeaux(sp?) has alot to do with it, but so be it, Doc hired him.

  2. I like the idea of having assistants focused on specific aspects of the game.

    It’s not hard to be a good coach when you’ve got great players… but coaching an NBA team to wins that have ended up this easy is worth noting.

    Doc’s taken a lot of crap… he deserves credit when things go well.

  3. Why does everyone give Doc such a hard time? He’s a solid coach. He has never had much talent on his teams even Orlando, but this one. He’s always been put in a situation with young players. Name one coach that has made a playoff run with a bad team… Phil Jackson has had Great.. Not good, GREAT players on all his teams & we know how “Great” he is.

    Last year Doc coached a team with the average age of 22 yrs old. Everyone questioned his rotations and that was all part of Ainge’s master plan of acquiring assets. So take it easy on Doc he was brought into Coach young talent and he did a great job giving everyone enough playing time to sharpen & showcase their skills!!

  4. Chuck, look for someone else wearing a 5 + 20 + 34 shirt tomorrow.

  5. You are so right about the way Doc is using Paul. Paul has always been the kind of player who can put up points in a hurry, and he has been the main guy in helping the Celtics pull away in these second quarters. It does not surprise me though. Paul has been doing this since he was at Kansas. Roy Williams loved putting the ball in Paul’s hands when games were close. I can never understand why so many people are so quick to get down on him though. I’ve seen a lot of games where I actually thought he was trying to pass too much. If he was selfish, he easily could have just gone out and probably grabbed scoring titles for himself these past few years.

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