Celtics

Rivers moves up the ranks of Celtics coaches

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Rivers moves up the ranks of Celtics coaches

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON We often talk about the milestones reached by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, as well as a host of Boston Celtics veterans.

Well, their head coach, Doc Rivers, is in some pretty rare company these days.

With Wednesday's 119-95 win over the Sacramento Kings, Rivers passed K.C. Jones on the Celtics' all-time coaching win list. He now has 309 victories.

Rivers trails Comcast SportsNet analyst Tommy Heinsohn (427) and Celtics great Red Auerbach (910).

Rivers acknowledged he hadn't given the achievement much thought until asked about it following Wednesday's victory.

"I don't know what it means, honestly," Rivers said when asked about being the third-winningest coach in franchise history. "I just don't know what it means yet, because I'm not thinking about it much; I'm not done. But it's nice."

Rivers has the Celtics once again in the hunt for an NBA title with a 29-9 record.

But Rivers, in his seventh season as the C's coach, knows all too well who to credit with his long run in Boston.

"It's Danny Ainge at the end of the day," said Rivers, referring to the Celtics' president of basketball operations.

After finishing first in the Atlantic Division in his first season with the Celtics in 2005, the team got progressively worse record-wise the following two seasons before bottoming out at 24-58 during 2006-07.

There were many who wanted Rivers out.

But Ainge wasn't one of them.

"We were bad for two years and he stuck with me," Rivers said. "And Ainge believed in me."

Following the 2006-07 season, the Celtics made a draft-day trade for Ray Allen. A couple months later, they traded for Kevin Garnett.

From there, the C's have maintained a spot among the NBA's elite that already earned them an NBA title in 2008.

So as much as Rivers will get the praise and credit for winning more games than all but two coaches in franchise history, he understands how fortunate he was to be given an opportunity to do so with one of the most storied franchises in NBA history.

"At the end of the day," Rivers said, "it's Danny Ainge more than me."

As far as making a run at the top spot, Rivers has given that some thought.

"That ain't gonna happen," he said. "I can guarantee you that!"

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Celtics won't be broken by Hayward's injury

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Celtics won't be broken by Hayward's injury

BOSTON -- These are tough, heart-tugging times for the Boston Celtics, who are less than 24 hours removed from the gruesome left-ankle injury suffered by Gordon Hayward in the first quarter of their 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday.
 
Hayward is scheduled to have surgery today, and potentially could be out for the entire season.
 
As much as their hearts go out to Hayward and his family, the Celtics know they can’t spend too much time sulking. The nature of this business won’t allow them, evident by the fact the C's step back on the floor tonight to host the Milwaukee Bucks.
 
“You hurt for him,” said coach Brad Stevens. “He’s put in a lot of great work. I thought he had his most comfortable week as far as feeling like he was going to play really well. It’s a tough, tough deal but I guess that’s part of it, the risk of injury. I really feel for him.”
 
But in the same breath, Stevens is a realist.
 
He's been in the league long enough to know that grieving for a lost player won’t help that player in the short-term. Or the team, for that matter.

MORE ON GORDON HAYWARD

 
The best way the Celtics can help Hayward is to continue to compete in his absence.
 
We saw that in last night’s loss to the Cavaliers.
 
When Hayward was carted off the floor, the Celtics were ahead, 12-9. The lead disappeared and was eventually replaced by an 18-point deficit, only for Boston to chip away and eventually go ahead in the fourth quarter.
 
But down the stretch, too much LeBron James and Kevin Love would prove to be too much for the Celtics to overcome.
 
While the loss was disappointing, it gave the team some insight into how to fight on now that one of its main guys will be out for a significant amount of time.
 
We saw Jaylen Brown emerge from being a second-year pro on the rise into a matchup problem who dropped a career-high 25 points on the Cavs.
 
And Jayson Tatum reminded us all that he’s a teenager in age only, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. The last rookie to tally a double-double for the Celtics in his opening night debut was Larry Bird in 1979, who had an identical 14-point, 10-rebound line.


 
But Bird didn’t have to play most of that game with one of the then top-three Celtics out for all but the game’s first five minutes.
 
When it comes to adversity, NBA players don’t have the luxury to pick which ones to handle and which ones to pass on. They either step up to the challenge or be consumed by it.
 
Under Stevens, Door Number One is the only option under consideration.
 
And since Stevens has been in Boston, his players have risen to the challenge.
 
That doesn’t mean they'll win every game, but they've shown the ability to at least be competitive. And in defeat, they'll refuse to use injury as an excuse.
 
That means younger players like Brown and Tatum will assume a larger role at both ends of the floor if Boston is to make it through these tough times relatively unscathed.
 
Veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Smart will be leaned upon more heavily to be leaders, both on and off the floor.
 
And Stevens, considered by many to be one of the better coaches in the NBA, will once again be tasked with making on-the-fly adjustments with his lineup and rotations under less-than-ideal conditions.
 
Nobody hurts more than Stevens when it comes to Hayward’s injury. Remember, he's known him longer than anyone associated with the Celtics, having recruited Hayward to play for Butler. It was the platform that launched both of their NBA careers.
 
Which is why the way he approaches not having Hayward is the example for all his players to follow.
 
Shortly after the loss to the Cavs, Stevens was asked about moving on while handling the emotional dynamics of losing Hayward for an extended period of time.
 
“We’ll be ready to play [tonight],” Stevens said with a heightened level of seriousness in his voice that spoke to how important it was to him and his players that they came out and performed at their best on Tuesday against Cleveland.

And that's the blueprint required for them going forward if they hope to be successful in handling adversity as it comes their way.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.