Doc Rivers

Brad Stevens, Doc Rivers talked Celtics chemistry 'several times' last season

Brad Stevens, Doc Rivers talked Celtics chemistry 'several times' last season

Brad Stevens had his hands full with last season's Boston Celtics team. But he wasn't alone in his efforts.

In a recent chat with The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he talked to Stevens -- who succeeded Rivers as Celtics head coach in 2013 -- on several occasions during the 2018-19 season.

"He’s a great basketball mind; we call each other during the season,” Rivers told Washburn. "I called Brad several times last year to ask his opinion about certain guys, certain players, certain situations. He does the same with me."

The two had plenty to discuss during unexpected seasons for both clubs, as a talented Celtics team underachieved while the scrappy Clippers exceeded expectations. According to Rivers, chemistry was a mainstay on the agenda.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST: LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE HERE

"Brad and I talked several times about team chemistry," Rivers added. “Brad had a young team. They have that first year where they go to the Eastern Conference finals and the next year, the assumption of winning is a dangerous thing. Young players assume we’ll be back next year and the same thing will happen and you find out that that’s not so.

"Experience will be invaluable. You’ll see [Jayson] Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown, those guys will be much better because of it."

Stevens and the Celtics were unable to solve their chemistry puzzle last season. But with Kyrie Irving out and Kemba Walker in as part of an offseason overhaul, there's reason to believe this C's team will get along a bit more.

And if they hit bumps in the road, Stevens knows who to call.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Doc Rivers makes fitting Tom Brady-Kevin Garnett analogy about Celtics star

Doc Rivers makes fitting Tom Brady-Kevin Garnett analogy about Celtics star

Want to win a championship at the highest level? You need more than just talent -- you need culture.

That's why the 2007-08 Celtics were so thrilled to acquire Kevin Garnett, a perennial All-Star who also set the tone as Boston's emotional leader.

The winning culture Garnett established alongside Paul Pierce and Ray Allen immediately paid dividends in a 2008 NBA title -- not unlike a New England Patriots team that won three Super Bowls in four years behind a similarly fiery young quarterback.

Back in Boston for the annual Hoop Dreams charity event for the ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) anti-poverty agency, former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers invoked Tom Brady's name when describing Garnett's impact on the Celtics.

"Kevin Garnett is the greatest superstar team-builder that I’ve seen in the history of the game," Rivers said Monday, via Sports Illustrated. "He always considered the team before any action that he took on or off the floor, and for that to also be your superstar player is unusual.

"Kevin Garnett, like Tom Brady, is a culture-builder. When you have a guy like that, you’re going to win. Kevin is one of the greatest of all-time, but he’d be the last one to tell you."

Brady has set the standard for 20 years in New England, demanding excellence from his teammates while signing a number of team-friendly contracts that have helped the Patriots sustain one of the longest-lasting dynasties in professional sports.

Garnett and the Celtics only won one championship before the "Big Three" disbanded and Rivers left to join the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013, but Rivers still marvels at Garnett's ability to put team first in a room full of exceptional talent.

"They'd already done so many other things in their careers, but the one thing that stood out was something they couldn’t buy, something they couldn’t do alone," Rivers said. "In order to do this, they had to come together as a group. Kevin really understood that, and he was willing to sacrifice anything for that, including his numbers and his fame."

Brady still is making sacrifices at age 42, and it's still paying off as he eyes a seventh Super Bowl title with the Patriots.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Thirty-one years ago today, the old Boston Garden was the site of one of the great superstar duels the NBA has ever seen.

Larry Bird vs. Dominque Wilkins. Celtics vs. Hawks. Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7.

On a Sunday afternoon, in the first of a Garden playoff doubleheader (the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers would play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final later that night), the two Hall of Famers staged a one-on-one battle to remember.

Bird and the Celtics came out on top, 118-116. Wilkins finished with 47 points - 12 in the fourth quarter - on 19-for-33 shooting. Bird had 20 of his 34 points in the fourth and was 15-for-24 for the game. And, in an ode to how different a game the NBA was then - each player only hit one 3-pointer. 

Tommy Heinsohn was the CBS analyst for the game with Brent Musburger doing the play-by-play. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers was in Atlanta's backcourt. Heinsohn and Rivers looked back at the game with the voice of the Celtics.

Heinsohn: "Once it started to happen, you just saw the desire of both these players." 

Rivers: "The crowd here was amazing. I gotta tell you, I fell in love with the Celtic crowd in this game."

The Celtics would go on to lose to the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but this game provided a lasting memory from that postseason.

Perhaps Musburger put it best after another late Bird drive and finish: "You are watching what greatness is all about."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.