BOSTON -- After attending the funeral for Rick Majerus in Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon, Celtics coach Doc Rivers arrived back in Boston a mere two hours before tipoff of a visit from the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden.
Despite the heavy travel -- and a heavy heart -- Rivers said he was prepared to coach his team this evening in the conclusion of a home-and-home series.
"Rick had a lot to do with why I’m here," Rivers said of the former Marquette assistant who is responsible for his 'Doc' nickname. "I’ve been with Rick since the 5th grade, for the most part. I felt like I had to be there. It was important for me."
Rivers said he never considered not coaching tonight and joked that "if I really wanted to piss Rick off, I wouldn't coach the game." Turning more serious he added: "No, I didn’t give [not coaching] much thought. I think life is involved in what we do every day, and you deal with life, then you deal with your job. So I always try to separate it when you can. Sometimes you can’t."
A few more notes from pregame access:
* Asked if Rajon Rondo suffered any setback after appearing to possibly tweak an ankle during Friday's loss to the 76ers, Rivers noted, "I don’t think so ... No one said anything, so I’m guessing not." Rondo was moving around fine after Friday's game in Philadelphia and exhibited no signs of ailment while maneuvering the Celtics' locker room while tossing a football with teammates before Saturday's game.
* The Celtics re-assigned rookie forward Kris Joseph to Maine Red Claws of the D-League. With a healthy roster and three consecutive off-days looming for Boston, Joseph returns to Maine for valuable game reps.
* One day after dubbing Jrue Holiday an All-Star, Rivers heaped praise on Friday's hero, Evan Turner. "Jrue right now is an All-Star and Evan played like one last night, for sure," said Rivers. "He made a couple of incredible shots, even his game-winning shot was well defended, almost trapped for the most part ... the blocked shot by Paul [Pierce] and getting the rebound, and he had another one where he split a pick-and-roll -- he made three sensational plays. But that’s what he does, that’s what he’s always done. He did it in college. I think he’s getting comfortable in our league now. I thought it started last year, and I think it’s carried on to this year."