BOSTON (CBS) – Doc Rivers returned to the TD Garden on Wednesday night for the first time as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Rivers received a standing ovation as he made his way to the court, and another when the team played a tribute video for him following the first quarter.
Rivers’ Celtics won a title in 2008 and went back to the Finals in 2010, but his nine-year run ended with him asking out of his contract to leave for L.A..
Celtics president Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday morning, and said things really couldn’t have ended any differently — at least from a Celtics standpoint.
“There were some things that could have gone differently, but I’m not sure there was anything I could have done differently or the Celtics could have done differently,” said Ainge. “There was a big holdup with the Clippers doing a deal with us and what we wanted to do. When the season ended last year we anticipated Doc would be back, but he held that a little bit. He held that up for about six weeks before he decided he wanted to come back. I think that’s what he referred to, the time element.”
“I think we handled ourselves right and did what Doc wanted to do, and what was best for the franchise,” Ainge said. “What happened happened, and I don’t have one ounce of regret for hiring Doc. I watched how hard he worked and how much he loved the Celtics. At the same time, he saw what was in the crystal ball in his perspective and saw a really special opportunity not only to be coach, but the person who makes all the basketball decisions in L.A..”
LISTEN: Doc Rivers On Felger & Mazz
Ainge wasn’t able to attend Wednesday night’s game, but said he and Doc remain in contact on a regular basis.
“It helps to have allies when you’re looking to get a deal done,” said Ainge, though the Celtics and Clippers cannot trade with each other until next season.
“We just talk as friends. We talk about golf, football, politics. I would say over the course of our nine years together, our single biggest debate was Mitt Romney and Obama,” Ainge said. “I think that’s one we’ll never be able to resolve. Basketball disagreements usually worked themselves out… but that’s one that no matter how bad a job Obama does or how good a job Obama does, I don’t think either of us will change our perspective.”
Ainge was also amazed to hear that the T&R crew took a bus to Brooklyn on Tuesday to catch the Celtics-Nets tilt.
“You guys went to a basketball game? Was there a concert after the game or something?” he joked.
Ainge also talks about Jordan Crawford’s recent emergence as the team’s point guard, and praises new head coach Brad Stevens for making the swtich: