DOC RIVERS picked up another win in Boston. The coach who led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA title returned for the first time with the Los Angeles Clippers last night and beat Boston, 96-88. Jamal Crawford scored 21 points, hitting a pair of three-pointers 23 seconds apart to help the Clippers pull away in the final 3 minutes.
"It was just a really nice day," said Rivers, choking back tears in his postgame news conference. "This is, it's just such a classy place here . . . They cheer for their teams and they love their athletes. The best decision I ever made was 10 years ago, when I decided to come."
Chris Paul had 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and Blake Griffin scored 18 points for the Clippers, who won for the seventh time in 10 games. Reunion week resumes for Rivers today, when he faces former Celtics Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett - now with the Brooklyn Nets.
"It was a really special win," Crawford said. "You could see his emotions. I don't know what he was going through inside."
Jeff Green scored 29 points against his former coach, who was traded to Los Angeles last summer for a first-round draft pick. Jordan Crawford had 20 points and nine assists, and Brandon Bass had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who lost their second in a row.
"It wasn't emotional," said Green, one of just a handful of Celtics remaining from last year's team. "We were just trying to win a game, plain and simple."
The Celtics lost to Brooklyn on Tuesday night, facing two of the stars who brought an unprecedented 17th championship to Boston. One night later, Rivers returned to the TD Garden, where the banner for the 2008 title hangs from the rafters.
Rivers got a standing ovation when he walked onto the court for warm-ups, another healthy cheer when he was introduced and a bigger one after a video on the scoreboard ended with, "Thank you, Doc!"
"I'm an emotional guy," Rivers said beforehand. "I just hope I can coach tonight."
Rivers did just fine, getting 34 points from his bench to just four for Boston's. The Celtics led by as many as nine points in the first half, but the Clippers erased it in a back-and-forth third quarter in which the lead changed hands five times.
* At Charlotte, Jameer Nelson had 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and the Orlando Magic snapped a six-game losing streak with a 92-83 victory over the Bobcats. Glen Davis added 17 points and 12 rebounds and Nikola Vucevic chipped in with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Arron Afflalo had 16 points.
* At Memphis, Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and Kevin Durant added 18 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 116-100 victory over the Grizzlies. Reserve guard Jeremy Lamb added a career-high 18 points to help the Thunder to their fourth straight win and 12th in 13 games. Neither Westbrook nor Durant played in the fourth quarter as the Thunder maintained double-digit leads throughout the final period.
* At Milwaukee, Tim Duncan had 21 points and 16 rebounds while playing just 24 minutes and Tony Parker added 15 points in the San Antonio Spurs' 109-77 rout of the Bucks.
* At New Orleans, Ryan Anderson shook off an unusually poor shooting night from long range, hitting two clutch three-pointers in overtime that carried the Pelicans to a 111-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans has returned to action 2 days after the club said he was expected to miss 1 to 2 weeks with a left ankle sprain.
* At New York, Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks pulled out an 83-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls after blowing a 23-point lead. Amare Stoudemire made the tiebreaking jumper with 2:35 left and finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who ended a two-game losing streak but made it harder on themselves than necessary with some sloppy second-half offense.
* Phoenix Suns broadcaster Tom Chambers apologized to the NBA team and its fans after being arrested on suspicion of DUI. Scottsdale police say Chambers, 54, a former Suns star, was pulled over Saturday night after an officer saw a pickup truck weaving in a bicycle lane.