Of all the expectations going into this series, pretty much everyone thought that Phil Jackson was going to coach circles around Doc Rivers. But instead of the Zen Master daintily crossing his legs with that smug look on his face, he’s been whistling up a storm.
All series long it’s been Rivers, not Jackson, who has pushed the right buttons and given his team the upper hand. That was never more evident than in Thursday’s Game 4. Rivers’ in-game adjustments helped the Celtics shake off a three-touchdown deficit, while Jackson was left fumbling for a response all the way through the final seconds, when the Lakers needed to burn two timeouts to advance the ball with 15.7 seconds left after they’d mistakenly inbounded the ball before using the first.
The biggest adjustment was Rivers’ decision to go small by inserting Eddie House and James Posey into the lineup. Those two 3-point shooters provided the spacing Boston lacked with Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo on the court, and repeatedly burned the Lakers when they tried to double Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. It was something he’d been considering heading into the game, and once the Celtics fell behind and Perkins hurt his shoulder, he rolled the dice.
“They were trapping off Rondo [and] Perk,” said Rivers. “I brought it up with our staff yesterday. It was probably a 50-50 split, and I just did it because I thought we had to have floor spacing.”
Check out the rest of Hollinger’s article HERE.