Boston fans felt jilted by Doc Rivers — they thought he would stay with them through the pain of rebuilding, instead he took off for the hot young thing in Los Angeles. Outside Boston few blamed him, in Boston fans felt dumped. Rivers kept saying it was mutual, Celtics fans were having none of it.
Even though Boston rebounded well — Brad Stephens is showing he can coach at the NBA level, the Celtics play smart and hard for him — still it feels a little awkward with him coming back to town Wednesday night with his Clippers to face the Celtics. Some Celtics fans seem to need some kind of closure.
“I did at the end of the day,” Rivers admitted. “You make choices in your life, it happens… It was a very difficult decision for me to make; whether to walk away and sit a couple of years, which was another way I was leaning, or if the right job presented itself to walk away and do that.
“I was afforded a great opportunity here with the Clippers. This is the first time I’ve been able to coach a team and run a team,” Rivers continued. “This may work, it may not work. It’s a far bigger gamble for me than anyone else. So I thought it was the right time to take it.”
There, he admitted it. Can we all just end this and move on now? Brad Stevens is a great guy and this is a fun Celtics team. Savor that.
We will see what kind of reception Rivers gets. From my seat he deserves a warm welcome back — he was there 9 years and brought that team a ring and some great memories. He loved Boston, it was just time for both sides to move on.
Rivers talked again about how much he loved being back in the city, seeing old friends and eating in his favorite restaurants. It clearly still means a lot to him.
“Tomorrow will be an emotional day for me, I can tell you that,” said Rivers.