|3-day former Celtics reunion tour ends in Brooklyn||12.13.13 at 8:40 am ET|
The three-day former Celtics reunion tour ended Thursday night in Brooklyn, where Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett led their Nets to a 102-93 victory against Doc Rivers‘ Clippers, and naturally it was a mutual love-fest.
Quotes courtesy of the New York Post.
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. 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.
|Doc Rivers on Boston: ‘It’s such an amazing fan base’||12.11.13 at 10:56 pm ET|
“I’m still emotional. I though the fans were … it was just a really nice day. It’s just such a classy place here. So, it was really nice when I walked out — and I’m not used to walking out on that side — and all those people lined up. I was basically useless for the first 18 minutes of the game, I thought.
“It was just nice. It didn’t surprise me, because that’s just the way they are. You’ve got to live here to understand it. It’s an amazing fan base. It really is. And I just want everything to go well for them.
“That was hard. That was hard. Every time they were taking the ball out, one of their guys — Jeff [Green] and everyone — was talking to you, and you’re trying to keep focus. It’s funny. I told my coaches I needed halftime far more than the players, and I think they sensed that. You could see at halftime CP [Chris Paul] was like, ‘We got it. We got it.’ He kept saying that. So, I think they sensed that a little bit from me, and that was nice.
“I’ll tell you: Boy, this is such a neat place. I tell people all the time — people don’t get Boston. They really don’t. They don’t understand. And I think you have to be a part of it to get it. I really do. I don’t think you can get it from the outside. It’s just a special, different place. People are born here and raised here, and they cheer for their teams, and they love their athletes. And it’s just a great place to be. The best decision I ever made was 10 years ago, when I decided to come. That was the best decision I ever made.”
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 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.”
|Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman, Tyronn Lue join Doc Rivers in Los Angeles||07.08.13 at 9:28 pm ET|
Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue will be migrating west with Rivers as assistants on the Clippers staff. A close friend of Rivers – Alvin Gentry – was also named associate head coach on Monday.
Rivers was named the head coach and senior vice president of the basketball operations of the Clippers in mid-June and has been working on completing his staff since leaving Boston for LA.
Also leaving Boston is JP Clark, who will serve as the assistant players skills coach. The Clippers confirmed the hires on their Twitter page on Monday afternoon.
Clippers name Alvin Gentry Associate Head Coach & add Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue as assistant coaches. http://t.co/L0hAgigOf4
‘ Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) July 8, 2013
Gentry returns to Los Angeles for his third stint with the Clippers after serving as both head coach (2000-2003) and assistant coach (1990-1991).
Hill was one of Rivers’ main assistants in Boston over the past nine seasons. Before joining the Celtics, Hill was an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2003-04 season.Eastman joined the Celtics staff in Rivers’ second season in Boston and remained in Boston ever since.
Lue, who played in Los Angeles with the Lakers and won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001, spent the past four seasons on the Celtics bench, including the last two as an assistant coach. Lue will serve as the head coach for the Clippers summer league team in Las Vegas.
Clark spent last season with the Celtics in their player development department and also served as an assistant coach for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.