BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics have won five straight and are a confident bunch as they enter the final stretch of the regular season.
Rich of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich caught up with Celtics guard Keyon Dooling on Monday, who says the Boston locker room is an easy place to be in, and one that sets the team up to succeed from their head coach on down.
“Doc (Rivers) creates a great environment, a very conducive environment for an NBA player. If you’re an NBA player, you want to play for a coach like Doc Rivers,” said Dooling. “But more so than Doc, I think the players really set the tone. When you have somebody who has the intensity, the work ethic and charisma of Kevin Garnett, and you compound that with the effort and sweet stroke of Ray Allen and the scoring ability of Paul Pierce –who is always in on days off – and then you have the quiet kind of presence with (Rajon) Rondo. You throw all that in a pot, and it makes a good gumbo.”
Injuries have kept Dooling from being a big part of that gumbo, as the guard has played in just 31 games this season. But his contribution goes far beyond numbers on the stat sheet. The 11-year NBA veteran has been a silent leader, adding a little spice to that gumbo.
Dooling’s leadership was on display Sunday afternoon before the Celtics beat the Miami Heat 91-72 at the Garden. Along with Marquis Daniels, Dooling made sure to have second-year guard Avery Bradley ready to go with his matchup against Dwayne Wade.
“We were like two big brothers who were hyping their little brother up for his first fist fight,” Dooling said of their pregame pep talk. “I would say one thing to motivate him and then Marquis would chime in. Then I would go and Marquis would go. I think Avery literally could have ran through a wall after that conversation.”
“I just told him; as good as D Wade is offensively, you’re just as good defensively,” said Dooling. “Then Marquis would come in and say something with authority. Then I asked him ‘What’s driving you?’ Then Marquis would come in and say something. We just had his confidence through the roof. It’s great to have young guys like that who has fun with us, respects us, and makes us proud when he goes out on the court and plays the way he is playing.”
The Celtics win over the Heat has given them confidence that they can play with the best in the league, and Dooling is hoping it helps with a tough month remaining in the season.
“It was a great win for us. Obviously we had a slow start to the season. Everybody loves the Heat, you either love them or hate them, but you have to watch them. It was a great win protecting our home floor and hopefully we can use that momentum to continue this win streak.