Rivers moves up the ranks of Celtics coaches


By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTONWe 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.

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