BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers desperately wanted to sneak in a practice session on Saturday, but ultimately erred on the side of caution as the region dug itself out from two feet of snow. Boston's players will have been inactive since Thursday's win over the rival Lakers. and Rivers is worried it could take some time to shake some rust, even amid a six-game winning streak.
"Trust me, we tried everything we could [Saturday], even into the evening. Our [director of] security, Mr. Phil Lynch, thought it would be very dangerous, and he was right, which I hate to say that," Rivers said. "So I’m very concerned. We even contemplated going this morning on a 6 o’clock game, it’s just tough when you have two days off. What actually concerned me more is that Denver was playing last night, because you knew they would come in with rhythm. But there’s nothing you can do. We came earlier than usual this evening [to TD Garden for a walkthrough], and actually went over stuff at a real pace. I don’t know what that does, but it makes me feel better."
The Nuggets, winners of a league-best nine straight, were delayed getting in from Cleveland and didn't get to their hotel until around 3 a.m., so neither side is particularly thrilled with Mother Nature's winter inconveniences.
But Rivers tried to make the most of the inactivity, even venturing out in the storm on Friday night with Boston a car-less wonderland due to a travel ban.
"I went out on the blizzard night because my oldest [Jeremiah] was in," Rivers said. "He’s from Florida and he’s never been in one. So I thought he should experience it. We walked about a half block and he wanted to turn around -- that was disappointing. But it was cool. It was really neat seeing the city with no one in it, at least no cars. It was great."
Rivers said he spent Saturday watching basketball and cooking gumbo. With the extra time, he got an extended glimpse of these streaking Nuggets. So why are they so successful?
"Because they run, they play together," Rivers said. "I love watching them, I tell [Denver coach] George [Karl] that all the time. They are genderless when you watch them play -- nobody cares. They have six guys in double figures. [Kenneth] Faried yesterday led the team in attempts or second in attempts; today he could take two attempts and he doesn’t care. They don’t care and that’s what you see when you watch them play. It's a very difficult team to load on. We load on a couple guys per game, [but] we’re sitting trying to pick which guy do we do that to tonight. It’s just hard."
Is that what Rivers wants to see from his Rajon Rondo-less Celtics?
"I don’t know if we’ll have that balance because we have a guy named Paul Pierce on our team that’s pretty good, and Kevin Garnett," Rivers said. "After those two, the balance should look like [Denver does]."
One other pregame note: rookie center Fab Melo is back with the team after being recalled from Maine of the D-League to add depth to Boston's injury-thinned roster.