Celtics notebook: Rivers could coach All-Star team

Jim Fenton

The last coach to represent the Boston Celtics in the NBA All-Star Game was Chris Ford in 1991.

Doc Rivers may end that drought next month when the annual game takes place in New Orleans.

The teams with the best record in each conference as of Feb. 3 will have their head coaches work the All-Star Game, and Rivers is the front-runner as the deadline approaches.

The Celtics (31-6 before hosting the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night) had a three-game lead over the Detroit Pistons (29-10) in the Eastern Conference. 

"It'd be great,'' Paul Pierce said. "Doc would get the recognition for the great job he's been doing. He's been a great coach since he entered the league and he's finally gotten the opportunity to coach the veterans and he's showing what he can do.

"I think Doc is one of the more underrated coaches in the league and I think this would be a great honor if he got a chance to coach in the All-Star Game.''

Rivers, who was the coach of the year once while with the Orlando Magic, would rather be home in central Florida during All-Star weekend, but would enjoy the experience.

"I think we all want the weekend off, but I clearly would take the honor,'' Rivers said. "I don't think about it a whole bunch, to be honest.''

Rivers, in his fourth season with the Celtics, won the Atlantic Division title in his first year, then finished below .500 with young teams the past two seasons.

Now, with Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett as the centerpiece, the Celtics have the best record in the NBA.

"I would be happy for him,'' Allen said. "It's been great (playing for him). Doc is a coach of abundance. He gives you everything, like discipline, but he can laugh and joke. He cares about the guys genuinely and he wants everybody to get better and smarter as individuals.

"It would be nothing for him to tell us about something his dad told him while growing up and how it make him who he was, nothing for him to quote from a poet or the bible or a good author he's read from.

"It's interesting. It's important for a coach in the league with 82 games, you can say the same things all the time. You've got to find different ways to say the same thing, and I think he does a great job of doing that. He finds different aspects to pull from.''

In addition to Ford, the other Celtics coaches working the bench in the All-Star Game were Red Auerbach (11 times), Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones (four each) and Bill Fitch (once).

Healthy Pierce

After missing 37 games due to injuries last season, Pierce is one of two Celtics to play all 38 games, joining Garnett.

"I'm pretty healthy right now,'' Pierce said. "I'm feeling pretty good. Knock on wood, I hope I can continue to stay healthy and just keep moving on.

"I'm doing the proper things I need to do to keep myself on the court with my rest, eating right and staying in shape. Injuries are part of the game. I just pray and hope I can stay away from it.''

Pierce sat out nearly half of the 2006-07 season with a foot stress reaction, something Pierce is now referring to as a broken foot.

"I never heard of a stress reaction in the foot before, so I'm calling in a broken foot,'' Pierce said.     


Point guard Rajon Rondo missed his second straight game and third in the last four games with back and hamstring ailments. Eddie House started for the second time this season and the 30th time in his career, which began in 2000.

Allen, asked about changing times with him no longer playing in Seattle and Allen Iverson no longer with the 76ers, replied, "That's how the world turns. So many things happen, and before you know it, we're all throwbacks.''

The Celtics have now played 21 home games and have 20 remaining. The season's midway point is next Friday.

The Enterprise