Doc, Hold Off on Suspending Alston

Mike PetragliaCorrespondent IMay 7, 2009

CHICAGO - MARCH 17: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics watches as his team takes on the Chicago Bulls on March 17, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

If you think that Celtics coach Doc Rivers thinks Orlando’s Rafer Alston should be suspended for game three of the Eastern Conference semifinal Friday night, think again.

While he believes Alston should be disciplined for the open-hand head slap that he gave Eddie House after his third three pointer of the night, he doesn’t feel that Orlando should be put at a competitive disadvantage for Friday night’s game at Amway Arena.

“You can’t go around slapping people, otherwise all the players will no longer punch they’ll just start slapping,” Rivers began. “And if they say you can get away with it, they’ll just say, ‘I didn’t punch him, I just slapped him.’ I don’t believe in suspensions, personally, I really don’t. I know that sounds nuts. I wish everyone got fined and suspended in the regular season. I really don’t like guys getting suspended during the playoffs.”

Still, it gave Rivers another chance to remind his own players to keep their cool when the playoff pressure cranks up.

“Someone hits you in the back of the head, you react and then next thing you know it’s too late,” Rivers said. “I’ve been guilty of that as a player a couple of times. It’s just tough. All you can do as a coach is keep reminding them of that and the consequences. That’s what I think most players forget is that they think their actions are justified and then they have to pay the consequence.”

Rivers was up-close and personal with one of the most notorious incidents in NBA playoff history. During the deciding game of the 1983 first-round mini-series between Atlanta and Boston, Rollins elbowed Danny Ainge. Later, in a scuffle, Rollins and Ainge were wrestling on the ground, when Rollins bit the fingers of Ainge.

“I like what they did when Tree bit Danny,” Rivers said. “He was allowed to play and then was suspended for two games the following year. I like that better."

“Danny put his fingers in Tree’s mouth,” Rivers continued, half-joking. “And I remember Tree telling me, since he was a child he was always told, ‘What’s in his mouth is his.’”

More recently, Rivers was watching late Wednesday night when Derek Fisher of the Lakers elbowed Houston’s Luis Scola. Fisher was ejected for a flagrant-two foul and could be facing a suspension for game three of their series.

“Interesting,” Rivers said. “(Ron) Artest was the peacemaker in that. There’s something to be said for that, right there. That whole situation with Derek Fisher, that was a HARD hit.”


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