Celtics-Lakers: I Was Wrong About Doc Rivers and Ray Allen
When I started messing with this sports writing stuff back in my college days, I did so because I couldn’t stand most of the professional sports writers in Boston.
It wasn’t that they weren’t good writers or entertaining writers, but they were two-faced attention-getters who would change their opinions at the drop of a dime.
They would harp on all of the times they were right, and forget all the times they were wrong. They were never held accountable. They never, ever apologized.
Steve Buckley spent years trying to run Nomar Garciaparra (who at the time was a fan favorite) out of Boston and talking down to anyone who disagreed with him on WEEI.
Tony Massarotti writes about how much he hates the very people who read the paper he writes for (Boston Herald) and listen to the radio station he frequents as a guest host (WEEI).
Dan Shaughnessy used his Boston Globe column to write ownership-fed negative articles about Red Sox players, all the while making a living off of a made-up curse he invented to help sell books.
I started writing because I wanted to give a voice to the fans. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be a writer who was not influenced by personal relationships, didn’t hate the people who read his columns, and actually enjoy the sports I cover.
I wanted to be a sports writer who actually held himself accountable.
I wanted to be different.
That’s why it’s extremely important for me to write this article.
I was wrong about Doc Rivers.
A coach is measured by what he does in the playoffs.
Doc Rivers did a good job of staying out of the way and keeping the starting unit fresh in the regular season. I still don’t like how he uses his bench. I still don’t like the fact that he doesn’t go with a set rotation.
That said, Doc Rivers learned some valuable lessons in the Cleveland and Atlanta series. I was just too busy complaining about the officials to notice.
He out-coached Flip Saunders, but I took that as a “someone has to win” match-up and overlooked the improvements that he made. His use of the bench down the stretch in game six was fantastic.
His team seemed to always come out of timeouts with great looks and defensive stops. Announcers took notice, but I still didn't.
Overlooking his continued use of Sam Cassell, he’s been absolutely fantastic in the NBA Finals. So good, that even I took notice.
Don’t believe me? Just look at his team’s performance in every third quarter of this series. They’ve come out of halftime, made the right adjustments, and completely demoralized the Lakers in each and every game.
Their only loss thus far was a game in which his two best players couldn’t put the ball into the ocean, hardly a loss that could be blamed on Doc.
I never thought I'd say this, but Doc Rivers has completely and utterly undressed Phil Jackson thus far in the NBA Finals.
Doc Rivers, I’m sorry for ever doubting you. I was wrong.
I was wrong about Ray Allen.
Since game five of the Detroit series, Ray Allen has been the most consistent offensive player for the Boston Celtics.
After being called old in the Cleveland series, he seems to have gotten younger and younger as the playoffs have gone on.
He went from a guy who seemed afraid of the ball in the fourth quarter of game three in the Detroit series to a guy who demanded the ball at the end of game four in the Lakers series.
I didn’t just start writing off the impact of Ray Allen when he struggled in the playoffs. I’ve been touting the fact that Ray Allen wasn't nearly as important as Garnett and Pierce all season long.
In my oft stated opinion, he wasn’t the third member of the Big Three. He was a role player. Nothing more than a glorified Eddie House.
I was wrong.
He’s been getting to the hoop, he’s been playing defense, he’s been hitting clutch shots, and he’s been the best player on the floor at times in the biggest games of the season.
He has done an admirable job on Kobe Bryant. He hit two of the most important shots of the game yesterday.
He completely destroyed Sasha Vujacic on the clinching play, so badly that the next time we saw him Sasha was crying with a towel over his head (living up to his first name).
Ray Allen has been so good, he’s going to steal some MVP votes if the Celtics can close this thing out.
If he has a great game five and Pierce struggles, he might actually win the MVP.
Ray Allen, I’m sorry. I was wrong.
The Big Three wouldn’t be the Big Three without you.
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.
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