Rivers Says Roster is Set

October 27, 2005

Doc Rivers said he already has his roster pretty well figured out. There's still one more cut to be made, but, essentially, the 2005-06 Celtics are there, right before your very eyes.

   The team's first-round pick from June's draft may eventually get some quality D-League time, if not NBA time, while the two second-round picks from the same draft may become part of the rotation. ("It's just a number," Rivers said, referring to when a player is drafted. "What's the difference between 1 and 50 except $20 million?") The free agents have struggled.

        But, basically, it all seems set in stone to the coach.

   "I know where we're going with everything," Rivers said before last night's 101-100 exhibition-season closing victory over the the Cavaliers at the TD Banknorth Garden. "You'll find out soon enough. There's really no rush. Everything is pretty obvious."

   That would include, apparently, the point guard position.

   It started as a two-man battle between Dan Dickau and Delonte West with Marcus Banks as a third option. Then Banks got hurt and rookie Orien Greene emerged, changing the landscape. Rivers has settled on West as his starter, Greene as the No. 2 man and Dickau, signed because he had experience at the position in both years and games, as the No. 3 alternative. That was drummed home Tuesday night, when West (26 minutes) and Greene (37) shared the position. Dickau played the final two minutes of overtime only after West fouled out.

   "Obviously, it could have gone better," Dickau said of his first Celtics' training camp. "The learning curve hasn't progressed as well as I had hoped. Sometimes transition doesn't go as smoothly as you hoped it would or expected it would. But there's still plenty of time."

   Last night was better. Dickau played the final 18 minutes 53 seconds and finished with 9 points and 4 assists. He was on the floor when the Celtics rallied from a 15-point hole in the final 3:33.

   "I thought I played better. I was able to get into a little bit of a groove," Dickau said.

   While Dickau's shooting has been spotty (11 for 31 in the exhibition season), Rivers said that was the least of his concerns. "He hasn't played enough for his shooting to come around," the coach said. "That's the one concern I don't have."

   And the one concern Rivers does have?

   "His defense. Defensively, he has struggled," Rivers said before last night's game. "We have enough issues already defensively. That's a position where we can't have it."

   Rivers talked to Dickau yesterday about changing some defensive maneuvers and added that he fully expected the 27-year-old guard to be a factor this season.

   "At some point, Dan Dickau will help us. It could be early, middle of the season, or late. I know it. You know it."

   That sounded fine to Dickau, who sat on a lot of NBA benches for a lot of NBA minutes before finally getting his shot last season with the Hornets.

   "It'll happen," Dickau said. "Sure, you always want to play big minutes and start. But right now, it's not in the cards for me. That's not going to frustrate me. I've done that before. You just keep plugging along and once you get the opportunity, you make the most of it."

Change of plans

   Tony Allen was in Chicago yesterday for what was supposed to be a preliminary hearing. But his attorney said the prosecutors asked that Allen's aggravated battery case be continued so evidence could be presented to a grand jury. A new court date was set for Nov. 16. Allen spent two nights in a Chicago jail last week before posting $150,000 bond. He is charged in connection with an Aug. 28 fight that escalated into a shooting at a Chicago restaurant. The Class 3 felony charge carries a maximum of five years in prison. Allen was back in time to take a seat on the bench for the game . . . Gerald Green made the game-winning hoop on a drive to the basket with 13 seconds left. He said he had never made a game-winner before. The basket capped a furious Boston comeback. The Celtics trailed, 98-83, with 3:33 left, then Rivers went Rick Pitino on the Cavs, using a full-court press. Cleveland coughed it up seven times in the final 3:33 and 31 times overall. Justin Reed had 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter . . . West was the only starter to play in the second half. He lasted fewer than six minutes before leaving with a sprain in his left foot. X-rays were negative and he is day to day. Rivers didn't think the injury was serious . . . Al Jefferson fouled out for the second straight game. He played only 12 minutes last night and had 2 points and zero rebounds . . . The Cavaliers were without Larry Hughes (finger sprain), Drew Gooden (knee), Anderson Varejao (shoulder) and Ira Newble (foot.) LeBron James had 16 points, but was only 3 of 11 from the field.

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