Friday, March 20, 2009

A coach who's a friend, but not a buddy

The great Bob Cousy, in today's Boston Globe, talked about home court advantage, Kobe, LeBron, and Doc Rivers' relationship with his players.

On home-court advantage:

"It is neutralized in the playoffs, pretty much," Cousy said from Florida in a telephone interview. "In the playoffs, any player worth his salt comes to play wherever the game is. Of course, you would rather have home-court advantage, but it's easier to overcome in the playoffs than the regular season."

On LeBron and Kobe:

"LeBron is a great one, but the other guys have got to beat you," Cousy said. "They can put two, three, four guys on him and force the other guys to beat you; and when you aren't used to doing it, you can't imagine the pressure. A great player thrives under pressure, a mediocre one collapses. All year long, LeBron has been carrying you, now I'm supposed to hit wide-open shots. And it's the same with LA, to some degree. Kobe is great, but still, in my judgment, there is a lack of defense. Kobe is a good defender, but I don't see improvement on the defensive end. It's a tossup, those three teams."

On Coach Rivers:

"Doc maintains as good a relationship with the guys as any coach in the league," Cousy said. "There is a lot of nodding the head affirmatively, I love you, and yes all the time, but Doc's not that. He's a friend in need but not their buddy. It requires a certain amount of discipline and they know Doc will be there if they need him, and that creates a bond."