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Celtics coach Rivers leaves team after learning of father's death

TORONTO -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers left the team before
Boston's game Sunday against the Raptors after his father died in
Chicago.

The Celtics said Rivers left Toronto on Sunday morning. Grady
Alexander Rivers Sr. was 76. There was no immediate word on the
cause of death and funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

"It was a tough, emotional morning, I'm sure, for the whole
Rivers family," guard Ray Allen said. "I hadn't had the chance or
the pleasure of meeting Doc's father but I can tell how much he
meant to Doc by his words this morning. Our hearts went out to
him."

Assistant Tom Thibodeau replaced Rivers and the Celtics held off
Toronto to post a 98-95 overtime victory behind 33 points from
Allen and a 23-point, 13-rebound effort from Kevin Garnett.

"Thib did a great job tonight," Garnett said. "He's a
defensively sound kind of guy."

Thibodeau joined Boston this season, moving from the Houston Rockets. He acknowledged the pressure of stepping into the top job.

"Obviously, when you're an assistant you're making
suggestions," Thibodeau said. "When you're the head coach you're
making the final decision and there are a lot of decisions to be
made. Some work out well, some don't, but it's coming at you
fast."

Beating Toronto to improve to 2-0 meant a lot to Thibodeau and
his players.

"Our thoughts are with Doc and so that makes it special, the
fact that we were able to win for him," Thibodeau said.

Forward Paul Pierce said he was also thinking about Rivers.

"My blessings go out to him," Pierce said. "I've never been
through anything like that. We wanted to come out here and get the
win for him."

A 13-year NBA veteran, Rivers became the 16th coach in Celtics
history on April 29, 2004, and won NBA Coach of the Year honors as
Boston went 45-37 and won the Atlantic Division title in his debut
season.

Now in his fourth season with Boston, the 46-year-old Rivers has
led the Celtics to a 103-144 record.