BOSTON Keeping his personal and professional life in their own individual boxes is easier said than done for Doc Rivers.
Days like today bring that point painfully home as Rivers arrived to the TD Garden hours before tip-off after attending the funeral of coaching great Rick Majerus in Milwaukee.
Majerus, 64, died of heart failure last week.
In 25 seasons as a head coach, he compiled a record of 517-216 which included 15 20-win seasons and a pair of 30-win seasons.
He is most remembered for leading Utah to the NCAA championship game in 1998 in addition to coaching at Marquette, Ball State and most recently, St. Louis University.
"It was a long day, and a tough day," said Rivers, visibly saddened by the events of the day. "Now we have a game. That's how I look at it."
Majerus was the man who gave Rivers his nickname, 'Doc,' after seeing Rivers at a basketball camp wearing a Dr. J. t-shirt.
When Rivers learned of the day that Majerus' funeral would be held, it didn't matter what the Celtics had going on.
He had to be there.
"Rick had a lot to do with why I'm here," Rivers said. "I've been with Rick since fifth grade. I felt like I had to be there; it was important for me."
Rivers is one who doesn't hide his emotions, coaching or otherwise. Because of that, one would think that he would have at least considered sitting this game out.
Not an option, Rivers said.
"No. If I really want to piss Rick off, don't coach the game," quipped Rivers. "So, I didn't give that much thought. Life is involved in what we do everyday. You deal with life and you deal with your job. So I always try to separate it when I can. Sometimes you can't."