Rivers returns to Boston as coach of Clippers
The building will be familiar, the bench not so much.
Doc Rivers, coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, will be at TD
Garden on Wednesday night, this time working from the visitors’
bench. It will be his first visit since May 3, the last game of his
stay with the Boston Celtics.
”It will be very nice for me,” Rivers said. ”I put nine years
in there, nine wonderful years. So that’ll be really cool.”
He led the Celtics to their 17th NBA championship in 2007-2008
when they compiled a 66-16 record, and to the seventh game of the
2010 NBA finals. He had a 416-305 regular-season record as coach of
the Celtics and took them to the playoffs seven times.
They were eliminated in the first round of last season’s
playoffs by the New York Knicks, losing the deciding sixth game at
home 88-80. Afterward, Rivers, who had three years left on his
contract with the Celtics, wouldn’t commit to returning.
”Honestly, I just can’t even think about that right now. So I
don’t know,” he said. ”I need to just detox, and we’ll find that
Rivers was reluctant to be part of a rebuilding project with the
Celtics, and on June 25 was traded to the Clippers for a 2015
first-round draft pick.
He has the Clippers in first place in the Pacific Division. His
successor, Brad Stevens, has led the Celtics to the top of a weak
Atlantic Division even though they have a losing record.
Rivers coached the Celtics to the championship in their first
season after Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce. Allen
left as a free agent for Miami before last season, and Garnett and
Pierce were traded before this season to the Brooklyn Nets, who
hosted the Celtics on Tuesday night for the first time in the
regular season. The Nets play for the first time in Boston this
season on Jan. 26.
The Celtics’ makeover has been so thorough that only seven of
their 14 players were on the team that Rivers coached last season.
And one of the holdovers, point guard Rajon Rondo, hasn’t played
all season while recovering from ligament surgery on his left
But Rivers expects to see some familiar faces.
”The security guard, Don, who meets me at the door every time I
come in,” he said. ”It’ll be really nice for me. I made some
great friends there, friends for life, and it will be good to see