Article

Rivers relieved Rondo gamble pays off

13 December 2012 17:27

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers was relieved after his gamble on Rajon Rondo's playing time paid off in the NBA on Wednesday.

In Boston's 117-115 double-overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday - largely aided by a 34-point haul to veteran Paul Pierce - Rondo played 52 minutes and 30 seconds of a possible 58 minutes on court.

Rondo finished with 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds in a fine all-round match but Rivers admitted that leaving him on for so long was not ideal.

"I took the gamble, and sometimes it's a good one," Rivers said.

"Sometimes it's a bad one and I didn't think this was a good one. I just thought he got tired. You know, I didn't give them that normal rest two minutes before the fourth and let him get some rest.

"Obviously I didn't anticipate a double overtime game. But I thought that had an impact on him and on his speed in the game.

"I told our guys with like four minutes left - my coaches, because then it was too late - I said, 'This was not a good decision'. And that decision could've hurt us."

Boston led the match by as much as eight points in the last quarter and nearly threw it away.

But their ability to hang on for victory was vital ahead of a tough road trip that will see them face Houston, San Antonio and Chicago within five days.

"It's a good win, especially with the huge road trip coming up," said Pearce.

"Our defence was kind of up and down for most of the night. The positive part was fighting back and shooting hoops - it says a lot about how this team is growing when you can win games like this.

"It's going to be tough (on the road trip). We start off against an up-and-coming team like Houston and (then) San Antonio.

"We've definitely got our work cut out for us. The key is, when you go on these three road trips, to try and get the first one and build from there."

Boston have won 12 of a possible 21 matches this season and sit sixth in the Eastern Conference.

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