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3-day former Celtics reunion tour ends in Brooklyn

The three-day former Celtics [1] reunion tour ended Thursday night in Brooklyn, where Paul Pierce [2] and Kevin Garnett [3] led their Nets to a 102-93 victory against Doc Rivers [4]‘ Clippers, and naturally it was a mutual love-fest.

Quotes courtesy of the New York Post [5].

Pierce: “I grew under him. I was a young player, played nine years with him, just continued to mature and become a better all-around player under him. Before I was really known as a scorer; now when he took over he taught me the other parts of the game, the defense, the rebounding, the passing, just helped my game grow and mature.”

Garnett: “He taught us a lot about not just basketball and the philosophies of it, but about being a young man, a young black man, understanding your responsibilities, because we were starting our families. [He’€™s] just overall a great model. No one’€™s perfect, all humans have their flaws or whatever; but shoot, he’€™s damn near close to it. I’€™m just grateful he came into my life and that I had that experience to him.”

Those two remarks offer a reminder of the one significant difference between Rivers and new Celtics coach Brad Stevens [6]. Doc is revered by veterans. Those who know Rivers love and respect him, and those who don’t hear stories from the ones who do. That helps when a team is trying to lure high-profile players. Stevens may get there one day, but it takes years to develop that type of cache, and that’s what the C’s will miss most in Rivers’ absence.