Videos: Celtics honor Doc Rivers, who chokes up as he reflects on Boston return
Doc Rivers was nearly moved to tears by a standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd during his first return to Boston since joining the Clippers over the summer.
“I’m still emotional. I thought the fans were,” Rivers said, before pausing to take a breath and collect himself. “It was just a really nice day. This is just such a classy place, here. It was… really nice. When I walked out and, I’m not used to walking out on that [visitors] side, and all those guys, those people they lined up. I was basically useless for the first 18 minutes of the game, I thought.”
The Point Forward posted video of Rivers receiving the standing ovation earlier Wednesday.
“That was just nice,” Rivers continued. “It didn’t surprise me because that’s just the way — you’ve got to live here to understand that. That’s just the way they are. This is an amazing fanbase, it really is. I want everything to go well for them.”
The Celtics honored Rivers, who coached the team from 2004 until 2013, with a video tribute on the jumbotron. The two-minute presentation traced Rivers’ tenure from start to finish, showing him throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox game, posing with Rajon Rondo on draft night, celebrating Boston’s 2008 title, enjoying a laugh with Celtics president Danny Ainge, participating in community service activities, hugging Paul Pierce and getting a celebratory Gatorade bath. The video ended with the simple words: “Thank you Doc!”
Rivers finally agreed to join the Clippers as a coach and front-office executive in June after a protracted, rumor-filled series of twists and turns about whether he would stay or go. Boston decided to dismantle its remaining core by trading Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn in a draft day deal that was officially consummated in July.
The Associated Press added more game-day comments from Rivers.
”Coming to this building from the other side is surreal,” Rivers told reporters before the game, listing a few of the people he was happy to see again. ”For nine years, they were my family. … It’s going to be emotional in that building.”
“Coming back here, that’s special to me. I get to walk under a banner that I helped get and see the fans and a lot of my friends. This day and half has been a lot of fun, but it’s also been emotional, too.”
L.A. defeated Boston 96-88 to improve to 15-8. Boston dropped to 10-14 with the loss.
Chris Paul scored a team-high 22 points (on 8-for-16 shooting) and registered nine assists. Jeff Green scored a game-high 29 points (on 10-for-23 shooting) and grabbed four rebounds in a losing effort.