Tonight’s Game 1 might be one of the most-watched television events in recent history. But between the two storied franchises, it’s hard not to think that Phil Jackson (and his 10 rings) has the coaching advantage. Recently though, we had the chance to talk to Doc Rivers via conference call about the playoffs so far, his team’s affinity for technical fouls and the idea of a player/coach in the NBA.
Dime: I know that you disagreed with the two calls on Kendrick Perkins, but at some point doesn’t he sort of have to realize that he’s treading on thin ice?
Doc Rivers: Yeah, he does. But honestly Perk created the problem as far as his emotional overloads, you know what I mean? Where he’s allowed himself to get to this. But I also do believe that I go back to the double technicals and all this. Well, if you’re a physical player, you’re going to be the guy in most of those. So in some ways, obviously, Perk has to clean up his emotions, but it’s a fine line. You need him to be emotional too as a player.
Dime: Do you have any concern that Perkins playing with the fear of getting the next technical is going to be like a guy defending with five fouls on him?
DR: Yeah, I am very concerned by that. You know, Kendrick has to be allowed to play, and he has to be allowed to be physical. It’s amazing how this game has gone so far. Kendrick’s in foul trouble, and he’s not the most physical player on the floor. We are really concerned about that. And I’m just going to try to get Perk to be Perk and play and not be concerned with techs, not be concerned with fouls, and just go out and play, but that’s very difficult to do.
Dime: Talk a little about your team’s relationship with technical fouls.
DR: The veteran team, if you look at it, probably gets more because they have a longer reputation, and you could take the case the opposite way in some ways. But as far as our relationship with them, we’re very close to them. We’ve been very close to them all year.
Dime: How much of it is emotion?
DR: We have some very emotional players, and we knew that coming into the year. We’ve talked about it. But people aren’t going to change for the most part. We have Rasheed, very emotional. We have Kendrick Perkins, very emotional. We have Kevin Garnett, very emotional. And you could make the case with all three their emotions are what has allowed them to be good players.
Dime: Does the emotion ever takeover in a bad way?
DR: Does it hurt the teams at times? Yeah, there is no doubt about that. We have a rule, and we break the rule at times is no fourth quarter techs. Rondo‘s extremely emotional as well. This is the group we have. We knew coming into the year that it would be an issue, and it has been.
Dime: Recently you had a quote that said you think there will be a player/coach in the NBA one day. As a former point guard and player in the NBA, is it sometimes hard for you to watch the game as a head coach and not be able to play?
DR: Yeah, I would probably say that for all of the coaches that have played. You know, especially when it’s something that you did well. I would say it’s more in that case. But for the most part, not that frustrating at all knowing you couldn’t do it because you can’t do half the things they can do now anyways. But it is. The bigger the game, the more you’d love to be out there. That is the player side of you, and that will never go away. But then you wake-up and realize no, you probably wouldn’t.
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