The games and stats from seeding games in the NBA’s restart bubble count, meaning Saturday’s blowout win for the Clippers against the Pelicans was a little bit of history for Doc Rivers.
The current Clippers’ and former Celtics coach moved past Boston legend Red Auerbach for 11th on the all-time NBA coaching win list, his 939th coaching victory. Six more and he moves past Bill Fitch into 10th.
“Any time your name is with Red, you feel very fortunate,” Rivers said after the win.
As he is prone to do, Rivers downplayed his achievement postgame saying he was lucky to have “unreal players and unreal coaches” as well as understanding ownership while he coached. This is all true, but it still takes an elite coach to rack up all those victories.
Rivers coached the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008 and had stints as the head man with both the Magic and Clippers.
Rivers is an underrated Xs and Os tactician, but also a coach with the touch of a former player — his teams practice less than any other in the league. Rivers treats his players like adults and professionals, expecting them to take care of their own conditioning and to show up mentally focused, and veteran teams respond to that. He knows how to relate to players.
“It’s only so many coaches that could get to that mark…” Kawhi Leonard said after the game. “But he’s a coach that’s not really worried about that stat. He’s trying to focus on the main goal, and that’s winning a championship. Yeah, he really never talks about himself. It’s a team thing. I respect him.”