|Fast Break: Doc Rivers’ Clippers hand Celtics another reunion loss||12.11.13 at 9:57 pm ET|
Celtics fans thanked Doc Rivers with a standing ovation during a video tribute after the first quarter, and how did he repay his former organization? Guiding his Clippers to a 96-88 victory in his first game since leaving Boston.
Jeff Green (29 points), Brandon Bass (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Jordan Crawford (20 points, 9 assists) all had themselves a game against their former coach, but it wasn’t enough to help the Celtics avoid a second straight loss.
Not the greatest reunion week for the C’s, who drop to 10-14 and watch their Atlantic Division lead dwindle to a game over the idle Raptors.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The usuals: While the Celtics played stout defense, Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin got theirs, combining for 40 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists on the night. Meanwhile, the C’s held Los Angeles’ remaining three starters — Willie Green, Jared Dudley and DeAndre Jordan — to 22 points, 13 boards and two dimes. The strategy that probably wasn’t a strategy at all nearly worked.
Jump shoot: While Avery Bradley‘s jump shot has vastly improved since last season, Wednesday wasn’t his night. He didn’t connect on his first jumper until midway through the fourth quarter, although he did throw down this impressive one-handed alley-oop from Crawford early. His first connection from long distance, though, did give the Celtics a lead back after Los Angeles started the second half on a 15-4 run.
Benched: For the second straight night, Celtics coach Brad Stevens got little contribution from his second unit. With Kris Humphries nursing a bruised right knee and rookie Kelly Olynyk (ankle) missing his ninth straight game, Vitor Faverani was the lone big off the bench, and he put up zeroes again. The C’s reserves didn’t score their first points until Gerald Wallace‘s layup with 1:54 remaining in the third gave the C’s a 63-60 lead. And somehow Courtney Lee fouled out with all of zero points in the 15 minutes of action.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Steez: The legend of Crawford continues to grow with each passing game. Facing Paul, the best floor general in the business, Crawford held his own in the first half. The Celtics point guard entered the break with nine points, five assists and just one turnover — respectable numbers opposite Paul’s 15 points, three assists and two turnovers. Meanwhile, the C’s assisted on 12 of their 18 first-half field goals to take a 45-39 lead.
Motivation: Two of the Celtics most scorned by Doc’s departure, Green and Bass, came to play against their former coach. When Rivers left, admitting an unwillingness to go through another rebuilding process, that had to sting for the players left on the roster. Bass tallied his second double-double of the season in as many nights, and Green netted 20 points for the first time this month, including this monster dunk.
Defense: Through three quarters, the Celtics held the Clippers to 66 points on 43.1 percent shooting (40.9 percent in the first and 40.0 in the second), staying within two when the C’s themselves were shooting just 39.1 percent from the field. Los Angeles came into the game shooting 46.5 percent on the season and scoring 105.1 points per 100 possessions, both top-five marks in the league. Unfortunately for Boston, the aggressive defense led to 17 personal fouls and 34 free throws for Los Angeles (as opposed to 19 free throws for the C’s).
|Celtics pay video tribute to Doc Rivers||at 8:26 pm ET|
Between the first and second quarters of Wednesday night’s game between the Celtics and Clippers, Boston paid tribute to the coach who led the franchise to its 17th NBA championship with a video on the Jumbotron. He received a standing ovation from the Garden crowd. And the Celtics led 28-25 after one.
|Doc Rivers: Clippers ‘should be better than’ ’08 Celtics||10.03.13 at 4:41 pm ET|
Here we go again. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers thinks his Clippers are better than any team he’s coached. Here’s what he told ESPN LA (h/t Ball Don’t Lie) about Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan & Co.
“They should be better than any team I’ve ever coached, I really believe that. They’re more athletic. They don’t have the veteran IQ but they should be in that area. We have a couple individual defenders that can be dominating on defense. We have great speed but we don’t have the size in some ways as some of the teams I’ve coached.”
Hmm. I’m sure the Clippers will join the 2008 Celtics and Michael Jordan‘s 1990s Bulls as the only teams in NBA history to own an efficiency differential greater than 11 (outscoring opponents by 11 points per 100 possessions); they’ll start better than 8-0, take at least a 23-2 record into Christmas and finish better than 66-16; and they’ll go better than 13-1 at home in the playoffs and beat the Heat by 40 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, eclipsing the largest margin of victory in a title-clinching game — set, of course, by those pesky ’08 Celtics. No biggie.
|Doc Rivers sells his Boston condo for $3 million||09.17.13 at 10:24 am ET|
Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who claimed Boston “is it for me as far as a city” back in April, sold his Boylston Street luxury condo in the Four Seasons almost exactly a month after leaving The Hub for Los Angeles.
Rivers sold the 1,801-square-foot, two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom condo for $3 million on July 26, according to public records. The Celtics announced their decision to allow their coach of nine years to pursue an opportunity with the Clippers in exchange for an unprotected 2015 first-round draft pick on June 25.
For those counting at home, that’s almost as much as the annual salary of new Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who signed a six-year, $22 million deal in early July. Needless to say, Stevens wasn’t the purchaser of the penthouse condo.
Rivers walked away from the final three years on his five-year, $35 million contract with the Celtics to sign a similar three-year, $21 million deal in L.A. Rivers paid $2.2 million for the condo on Aug. 5, 2011 — a few months after signing that five-year extension — so he made another cool $800,000 on real estate upon leaving Boston.
Photos of the condo are available from that original listing two years ago.
|Back in Boston for ABCD charity event, Doc Rivers laments departure of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce from Celtics||09.12.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
Doc Rivers returned to TD Garden on Wednesday night. The former coach of the Celtics served as a co-chair of the Action for Boston Community Development’s Hoop Dreams charity event and spent the evening shaking hands, signing autographs and sharing stories about his time in Boston.
“It’s tough to leave the Celtics because it’s the Celtics,” Rivers said. “It was the best nine years of basketball that I’ve ever been a part of, but I also fell in love with the city. And, for me, the hardest part is leaving the city. I’ve met friends that have changed my life here, and they’ll always be my friends.”
Sitting a few rows behind the Celtics bench, Rivers shared some insight on his tenure with the Celtics.
Kevin Garnett served as a focal point of the discussion. Rivers lamented the fact that KG never let the city see his vivacious side.
“Fans never got to see Kevin’s personality,” Rivers said. “I wish the city got to know Kevin more. He’s the single best athlete that I’ve ever been around as far as being a team guy. He’s as ‘team’ of a star as I’ve ever seen. A lot of stars are stars, but he’s unselfish, to a fault at times, but every coach should be able to coach Kevin Garnett just to see what a true team player should be.”
Rivers agreed that Garnett is an atypical NBA superstar, as he is a pass-first player who relishes his role as a teammate.
“He did a lot of good things that people don’t know,” Rivers said. “When rookies came in, he would bring them up to my office. He’d sit them down, and then he would bring his tailor in and say, ‘If you want to be a pro, you’ve got to dress like a pro.’ And he would buy each rookie two suits, and he did it every year. To me, that says a lot about Kevin Garnett as a teammate.”
Rivers also admitted that Garnett has an interesting use of the English language.
“The word that starts with ‘f’? He thought it was a noun, verb and an adjective,” Rivers said.
Celtics fans may never have the opportunity to see Garnett reveal his personality, but he delighted the city with his Hall of Fame play for six seasons.
“He’s full of life and a great guy in the locker room,” Rivers said. “He’s so unselfish, I think he would have scored another 10,000 points if he wanted. He’s the only player I’ve ever yelled at for not shooting. He always felt like if he took three or four shots in a row, that was too many. He needed to share the ball.”
|Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘Disappointed’ in Danny Ainge’s portrayal of his Celtics departure||09.05.13 at 10:04 am ET|
It’s been more than two months since Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge played the blame game over how exactly the former Celtics coach landed in Los Angeles in exchange for an unprotected 2015 first-round pick from the Clippers.
“Honestly, I was very disappointed in that part of Danny’s press conference,” Rivers said during an appearance on Dennis & Callahan to promote September’s Hoop Dreams event at TD Garden to benefit Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD). “Other than that, Danny and I have no issues. Danny knows, just like I know, that that’s not true.
“Listen, guys, this is old stuff. I’m here, and Danny’s in Boston. You can ask Danny that more and more, but there were two people in that room, and it was Danny and I, and anyone else who has a comment about what went on doesn’t really know because they weren’t in that room. It was more than one day. It was several days, and it was an agreement.”
Regardless, Rivers and the Celtics president of basketball operations are still in communication. “We’ve had our disagreements when I was there, and we’ve moved on,” added Rivers. “That was a disagreement on how that was presented. Danny knows that, and I know the truth, but you move on and we’ve talked many times since.”
|Celtics schedule released: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett return to Boston with Nets on Jan. 26||08.07.13 at 9:18 am ET|
The NBA released the 2013-14 schedule Tuesday, and among the notable matchups for Celtics fans is when Rivers and his Clippers visit TD Garden on Dec. 11 and when the new-look Nets, featuring Pierce and Garnett, come to town for the first time Jan. 26. The Nets play at the Garden again March 7.
Brad Stevens and the C’s open their slate Oct. 30 against the Raptors in Toronto, then come home to play the Bucks two nights later.
Other circle dates include a Jan. 2 contest at the Bulls, which would be the first time Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose face off in nearly two years after both suffered ACL tears. It also serves as the team’s only Thursday night TNT game.
What may be the most interesting four-day stretch comes in mid-December. It starts when the Knicks, who ended the Celtics’ season in May, host Boston Dec. 8, and continues when the Nets do the same two days later at the Barclays Center ‘ the first regular-season matchup between the teams. The very next night, Dec. 11, happens to be when Rivers and the Clippers play at the Garden.
This season could also prove to be a bit of a grind ‘ even more so than most ‘ with the Celtics staring at playing on consecutive nights 20 times, which is actually two fewer than they had last season. Six of those back-to-backs will come in November, when they play a season-high 18 games.
In a change from recent years, the Celtics are not only not playing on Christmas, but they also have five days off Dec. 23-27.
Here is the full 2013-14 schedule:
Oct. 30 at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 3 at Detroit, 6 p.m.