After the Boston Celtics were ousted by the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in game seven of the Finals, Doc Rivers announced that forward Rasheed Wallace was set to retire. As for Mr. Rivers’ decision to return to Boston, he told journalists he was unsure, having that predicament leaving Celtics fans holding their collective breaths as they watched Boston favorite, Tom Thibodeau, the three-year assistant coach for the team, depart to become the Chicago Bulls’ next head coach.
Rivers has been coaching up the Celtics since 2004. A first-place finish in the Atlantic division in his first season led to a first round game seven exit delivered by the Reggie Miller’s “Last Stand” version of the Indiana Pacers. In 2005 the Celtics played poorly and earned themselves a third place playoff-less finish in the division. In 2006, a year that saw the Celtics win only 24 games, with the death of legend Red Auerbach occurring merely a couple of days before the season even began, trouble begin to brew in the season I’d like to dub as “Tony Allen’s ACL.”
I blogged like a madman during the 2006 season, calling for Rivers’ head, just like some other Celtics fans were doing. Hell, I even remember playing the video game “NBA 2k6” during the summer of ’06, before the season, and trading Paul Pierce for Kevin Garnett. Celtics fans wanted Garnett; Lakers fans wanted Garnett. K.G. had been one of my favorite all-time players up to that point, and to see him go to the Lakers would have did more than piss me off. I wanted Rivers to make a move; more-so, I wanted Danny Ainge to pull the trigger on a deal.
During the 2007 NBA Draft (June 28), the Seattle Super Sonics traded Ray Allen and the draft rights of Glen Davis to the Celtics in exchange for Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and Jeff Green.
A questionable decision, I thought, considering Ray Allen’s age, and GLEN FREAKIN’ DAVIS?! That fat guy from LSU who people kept calling the “Baby Shaq” after LSU ousted JJ Redick’s Duke Blue Devils in the 2006 NCAA Tournament?! The guy who had hurt himself in a car accident in December 2006?! THAT GLEN DAVIS?!
I shook my head and looked forward to what the Celtics were going to do next. “Rivers’ last season, upcoming, 2007.”
When the Celtics tradedAl Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and cash considerations to the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire Kevin Garnett, a two-way bittersweet feeling erupted in my stomach: it’s either you win the championship over the next couple of years, or this is a failure.
Long story short: the Celtics finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA, struggled against Atlanta and Cleveland in the first two rounds of the Eastern playoffs, handled Detroit with relative East, and then proceeded to whip the purple and gold off the LA Lakers’ jerseys in six games in the Finals.
Rivers was hailed a hero, anointed a little bit by my hypocritical ass and his job security peaked.
One championship, a second round exit and another Finals appearance later, Rivers made the decision to return to coach his seventh season for the team that he’s been on a roller coaster with. The last three years the roller coaster has been reaching the top of the pinnacle. The only way to go now is down. An expiring Ray Allen contract, an opted-out Paul Pierce, the effed knee of Kevin Garnett, a new assistant coach and a makeover…. it’s like a television drama.
Will the real Doc Rivers please stand up? 2010 will tell. Coaching, management and attitude.
The Boston Celtics’ claim to glory: UBUNTU!