Kevin Garnett didn’t feel that facing his most recent former
team was too emotional because his coach wasn’t there.
Doc Rivers, now with the Los Angeles Clippers, didn’t feel the
Rivers, Garnett and Paul Pierce continue an unusual three-day
stretch of reunions Thursday night when the visiting Clippers meet
the Brooklyn Nets.
Pierce and Garnett were the leading scorers for Rivers on the
2007-08 Boston Celtics team that captured the NBA title.
This stretch of reunions for this trio began Tuesday for Garnett
and Pierce with a 104-96 home victory over Boston in their first
game against the Celtics.
“Because Doc ain’t over there, it’s probably a little less
emotional,” Garnett said.
That means it will probably be more emotional for him Thursday
when Rivers comes to the borough one night after the coach guided
Los Angeles (15-8) to a 96-88 road win over the Celtics. Returning
to Boston clearly meant a lot to Rivers.
”It was just a really nice day,” said Rivers, choking back
tears in his postgame news conference. ”This is, it’s just such a
classy place here. … They cheer for their teams and they love
their athletes. The best decision I ever made was 10 years ago,
when I decided to come.”
Rivers will finally face Garnett and Pierce after both were out
in the Clippers’ 110-103 home win over the Nets on Nov. 16.
Brooklyn (7-14) was severely short-handed in that one, with Brook
Lopez and Deron Williams also injured.
All of those players are available now for first-year Nets coach
Jason Kidd since Williams returned Tuesday with 25 points after he
had missed nine straight games and 11 overall with a sprained left
”He’s the head of the snake,” said Pierce, who also came back
Tuesday from a four-game absence due to a broken hand. ”I mean
he’s one of the most important pieces of what we’re trying to do
here, what we’re trying to build and trying to win a
Williams’ presence figures to be critical as he renews his point
guard rivalry with Chris Paul, who had 12 points and 13 assists
against Brooklyn last month.
Williams was selected third overall in the 2005 draft and Paul
was picked fourth. Williams’ teams hold a 14-5 edge in their
Their numbers are fairly even in those contests. Williams is
averaging 16.7 points and 8.5 assists, and Paul is averaging 16.4
Another key matchup will be inside with Lopez going up against
Blake Griffin. Lopez is averaging 23.0 points and Griffin 14.8 in
four previous meetings, with the Nets winning three of them.
Brooklyn has won consecutive games for the first time thanks to
some defensive improvement. The Nets have allowed opponents to
shoot 42.5 percent in these contests after that figure was at 46.3
percent through 19 games.
“Obviously it’s only two games but when you look at the tape you
see guys with our new schemes, you’re starting to see a turnover
and those are positive signs,” Garnett said.
The Clippers improved to 3-2 on their seven-game trip as Paul
had 22 points and nine assists and reserve Jamal Crawford scored 21
Los Angeles has lost its last five on the road versus the