BOSTON — Doc Rivers is the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, who have a game Monday against the Brooklyn Nets, but there was no way he’d miss the number retirement ceremony of Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce on Sunday a TD Garden.
Rivers coached Pierce with the Celtics from 2004-05 through their last season in Boston in 2012-13. They experienced the highest of highs (2007-08 NBA champions) and the lowest of lows (58 losses in 2006-07) together in Boston, and certainly forged a bond that never will be broken.
“I love the guy,” Rivers said before the Celtics took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I got a ring, because of Paul, Kevin (Garnett), Ray (Allen), (Rajon) Rondo, (Kendrick Perkins). That whole group. I think Bill Parcells said it best. When you win something with someone, it’s a blood transfusion. You’re connected for life. Paul and I stay in contact a lot, talk a lot. So do all of us. This is a day we actually talked about. Before we won the title, this is literally a day we talked about, as far as our whole team, was going to happen. We all said we’d be here, so I’m here.”
Several members of the 2008 Celtics championship team are in attendance, including Garnett and Rondo. Some of Pierce’s best moments as a Celtic came during that title run, but they’re certainly not the sole reason he’s receiving this honor.
“(Paul) would have had this night regardless of winning a title, but winning a title makes this day pretty special,” Rivers said.
Pierce’s No. 34 will be retired to the rafters in a special ceremony after Celtics-Cavs.
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