WALTHAM, Mass. -- Each year that his team is in town for Patriots Day, Celtics coach Doc Rivers walks a few blocks from his downtown residence towards the finish line of the Boston Marathon to savor a small slice of Boston's unique holiday.
He never made it there Monday. Exiting the Massachusetts Turnpike at the Prudential Center on his way back from the team's afternoon practice, he stumbled into the hysteria that had enveloped the area after multiple explosions rattled a previously picturesque afternoon.
"I always go down after practice and watch, I've done it every year that we've been in town, because I live literally two blocks from the finish line," said Rivers. "I was on my way actually, I had just gotten out of the tunnel, when the bomb exploded. It's just awful. It takes the joy out of sports -- because that's what sports is supposed to bring is joy. It took all the joy out of the event and out of the day."
The NBA cancelled Boston's game against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night at TD Garden, a move that the entire Celtics organization called for in the aftermath of the tragedy. As team president Rich Gotham noted, "Even a day later, the notion of playing a basketball game in these circumstances just didn't feel right to us."
The Celtics hit the practice floor Tuesday -- something Rivers said would be a 1½-hour diversion for his players and staff -- but the events of Monday resonated strongly within the organization, particularly for Rivers and Jeff Green, who live close to the finish line.
"It was sad to hear about what happened yesterday," said Green. "You never think anything like that can happen. For something to happen here, right where I live, right down the street from where I live, and close to home, I mean, it's sad."
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