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Doc Rivers returns to Boston for the first time Wednesday night after his somewhat acrimonious parting of ways with the Celtic organization at the end of last season. According to Mark Murphy at BostonHearald.com Rivers believes he will be accepted by the fans in Beantown but the media is another story:
Rivers still rejects the idea his reception will be mixed — that he will be playing the role of Allen to a resentful crowd of Pierces and Garnetts. He admits that it was time to move on, and that his mental health couldn’t have tolerated another rebuilding process.

But based on return trips to Boston prior to the start of the season, including a large charity event in the Garden last September, Rivers believes he will be accepted. People may express regret that he left, he says, but never with anger.

“For me it will be very emotional and very nice. To be honest, I don’t think it will be that big a deal,” he said. “I really don’t understand how you can look at it any other way. Did I commit a crime or something? When I was there I got good reactions from people. In LA, when I see a Boston fan, they come up and say thank you. Whatever happened, happened.”

Instead, Rivers said he is getting the most contentious reactions from the media. He has dealt with angry radio talk-show hosts. Those encounters seem to have left the deepest impression.

“They get themselves all pumped up and ask, ‘Why did you leave?’ I left because it was time,” he said. “The people who talk about it are in the media. I don’t see it as an issue, and I don’t see why it has to be seen as a negative.

In all likelihood, for the most part, Doc should receive more cheers than jeers from the Boston faithful on Wednesday. After all, with the Nets struggling as much as they are and Brad Stevens proving to be the perfect coach for the rebuild not many people can argue with Danny Ainge's decision to part ways with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce which ultimately lead to Doc's departure.

Speaking of The Big Ticket and The Captain Doc had this to say about their rift with Ray Allen:
“The Ray/Paul/Kevin thing will be fixed,” Rivers told the Herald of his new lease on life after the Clippers finished their morning shootaround yesterday in Cleveland. “You forgive. Ray had to make a decision for himself. I was upset about it at the time, but he did so many good things for our team. So it will be fixed. If I have to get involved in it myself, I will, though I hope not.”

I disagree with Doc on this point, however. Ray went to Miami for less money and helped the Celtics biggest rival during the Big Three era, Lebron, extend his legacy, by hitting one of the most clutch shots in NBA Finals history.

Garnett and Pierce both bled green and still do to a certain extent. Ray may be forgiven, but not until a good five if not ten years after they're all retired.

Even with some of the lingering bad feelings Rivers still looks back at those years very fondly:
Five months isn’t long, but it has given Rivers time to reassess his nine years with the Celtics. His last six years, driven by the greatness of the Big Three, produced more elite basketball than anyone had a right to expect in the summer of 2007.

“Now, I would agree with that, but at the time, no,” said Rivers. “I remember when we made the (Garnett) trade people thought we had two years to do something. I just remember telling our guys, ‘You can’t take any season for granted.’

“I think we would have won two straight titles if (Garnett) hadn’t gone down in ’09,” he said. “That season taught me, more than any other, that you have to try and win now. In 2010, we struggled all year to get healthy, and then (Kendrick Perkins) went down in the Finals. Two years later, we made it to the Eastern Conference final. We just had a tough group of guys.”

Truthfully, the doubters fueled those Celtic teams making them play with a sense of urgency come playoff time. However, their success may have also hindered The Celtic organization rebuilding later than they probably should have.

So, you better not shout, you better not cry, you better not shout I'm telling you why: Doc Rivers is coming to town.

Follow Clint on Twitter @coolhandc

Clint Corey 12/09/2013 12:02:00 PM Edit
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