Ex-Celtics coach Doc Rivers, now coach of the Clippers, in an interview with ESPN’s The Undefeated, looked back at his time in Boston as the 10th anniversary of the NBA title season approaches.
Rivers said that if he hadn’t been able to win a championship in 2008, he probably would’ve quit coaching.
“…Honestly, without that, I probably wouldn’t be coaching. I probably would have stopped,” Rivers told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “The fact that I realized how hard it is and how tough the chase is, I swear it’s the only reason I coach. I love the chase. I want to get there…”
The Celtics’ Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were, of course, the catalysts behind the title team. Allen has now famously been ostracized by KG and Pierce for his departure to the Miami Heat in 2012. Rivers was asked if the relationship can be repaired.
Said Rivers: “The Ray thing? I don’t know. I think it will [heal]. At the end of the day, that team was as close of a group of any I have ever been around.
“So, when one leaves, it hurts your feelings. I think that’s what happened with our guys. Ray’s a terrific guy. We all know that. The guys that are with him are terrific. It will get back.”
Rivers said he’s tried to help mend fences.
“Yeah. I’ve tried to, slowly,” he told Spears. “But I think the time will help them get back together. Well, at least I’m hoping. So far, unsuccessfully. But I do think it will happen.”
Rivers said in retrospect, the Celtics allowed too many members of the supporting cast from 2008 to get away too quickly.
“…The thing I liked most about that team was, well, Kevin, Paul [Pierce] and Ray Allen were phenomenal, but if you look at that team, they had a bunch of instigator tough guys. Tony Allen, Leon Powe to [Big] Baby [Glen Davis] to Perk [Kendrick Perkins], James Posey. That team was built to win.
“The only mistake was after that year we allowed too many of them to go. We kept changing. That 2010 [NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers] is something that we will think about forever. Perk going down in Game 6. Losing Game 7 was tough for us.”