Celtics Notebook

Rivers back in time for game

Email|Print| Text size + By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / November 11, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - After being urged by his mother several times to go, Doc Rivers did what his late father would have wanted him to do: He coached the Celtics to victory last night.

Rivers was at the helm in the Celtics' 112-101 victory over the Nets at the Izod Center after attending his father Grady's funeral in Chicago yesterday. Grady died at age 76 a week ago in Chicago. Rivers and director of basketball operations Danny Ainge took a charter plane from Chicago to New Jersey after the funeral. Rivers arrived in the locker room 75 minutes before tip-off.

"A long day for me," Rivers said. "A tough game for me. I was going to stay home and my mom said, 'Go to the game. Just go to the game.' That's what my dad would want. But it was tough. Very emotional. Still very emotional.

"I needed this more than probably anybody. I told [the players] that after the game."

The Celtics players were not allowed to attend the services because of the game. And Rivers's son, Jeremiah, also didn't attend the funeral because the sophomore was playing for Georgetown in the Hoyas' 68-53 victory over William & Mary yesterday.

Rivers told his staff after beating the visiting Hawks Friday night that he wasn't certain he would be able to attend the Nets game. Just in case, Rivers and his staff talked in-depth about preparing for the Nets.

After the game, Rivers departed for to Chicago in a private jet. The Celtics are off today, and Rivers said he will likely miss tomorrow's practice in Waltham and will meet the team in Indianapolis for Tuesday's game against the Pacers.

"[Yesterday] morning, I wish everyone in the world could have been there," Rivers said. "It was a beautiful thing for my dad. Now I'm going to just go home and spend time with my mom.

"[The win] just means a lot because they care. We care about each other. And we have to continue to do that through thick or thin. Obviously, things are good right now for us so it's easy to care. But we have to care when things are not going well, and that will happen at some point, too."

Scalabrine on mend

While the headaches haven't gone away, injured forward Brian Scalabrine hopes to be back in uniform soon.

In a phone interview yesterday, Scalabrine said he suffered a Grade 2 concussion in the fourth quarter Friday. He was coherent when he was taken to New England Baptist for observations and was released yesterday morning. The Celtics have today off, and a team official said they are slated to reevaluate Scalabrine and injured swingman James Posey tomorrow.

"I feel good," Scalabrine said. "I'm having bad headaches. My nose is killing me. But it's just a concussion."

With Boston leading, 89-72, with 5:51 left in the game, Atlanta's Al Horford accidentally hit Scalabrine hard in the face with his right hand. The bleeding Scalabrine fell to the floor, landing on his back. The 6-foot-9-inch, 235-pound forward, who didn't make the New Jersey trip, hopes to work out at the Celtics' Waltham practice facility today.

When asked what he remembered about the injury, Scalabrine said, "I remember I got hit. I don't know what happened. His arm went up when the foul was called and then, 'boom!' "

Posey, who suffered a herniated lumbar disk in Wednesday's win against the Nuggets, hopes to play at Indiana.

Pollard says he's OK

Rivers said Friday he would prefer to rest center Scot Pollard to allow his injured left ankle to get 100 percent healthy. Pollard, who missed the entire exhibition schedule with the injury, was in uniform and said he was OK to play. The 6-foot-11-inch, 278-pounder did not play against the Nets (coach's decision) and has now missed three games in a row. "If I couldn't play, I wouldn't be in uniform," Pollard said. "I'm a big boy. I know the difference between being injured and hurt. In NBA, most guys at some point or another during the year are hurt."

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