BOSTON (CBS) – Doc Rivers returned to Boston on Wednesday night for the first time as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.
It was an emotional evening for the head coach, whose nine seasons with the Celtics were celebrated with a video tribute after the first quarter. An emotional Rivers reflected on his time in Boston after the game, giving nothing but love for the city and franchise.
Gresh & Zolak were happy that Celtics fans gave Doc multiple ovations, and were glad to see Rivers show some genuine emotion after the game.
“It went about the way I thought it would. It was an overwhelming ovation for a guy, who for the majority of the time he was here, in the eyes of most fans a pretty honorable and stand-up guy. He stood up for his guys and called it the way it was,” said Gresh. “He never threw players under the bus, and for the most part people look at Doc and say he did things the right way.
“Fans overwhelmingly did the right thing giving him a rousing ovation once they introduced him,” said Gresh.
“The reaction by you Celtics fans was phenomenal,” said Zo. “It was absolutely perfect.”
Many fans were angered by Rivers when he wanted to skip town despite being under contract, but his postgame press conference gave them a look at just how torn he was by the decision.
“When he says it was difficult emotionally and difficult personally, last night’s reaction proved that this guy was attached to this organization and this city, and that he really had to make a tougher decision than others thought,” said Gresh. “If you didn’t buy into the fact that Doc was torn, I think his reaction last night proved to you there was something there.”
“It wasn’t just ‘I have to get the hell out of here because I dont want to coach young players,'” said Gresh. “For a guy to come back and to get as emotional as he did, that lets you know he really was attached to being here.”
“I believed that,” said Zo. “There is something special about here, and that’s what Terry Francona said when he came back… There is something about the fan base in Boston.”
“Genuine emotion from him, and you could tell it affected him last night,” said Gresh. “It lets me know there really was a tug for him; it wasnt just about business or money or coaching older players.”