Doc Rivers has strong emotions for KG, Pierce and the guys he quit on

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ESPN Boston’s Jackie MacMullan spoke with Doc Rivers about his upcoming return to Boston. He shared his thoughts on KG and Paul Pierce:

“I was watching the Nets the other night and Kevin [Garnett] collided with someone and fell,” Doc Rivers reported. “My heart kind of skipped a beat. I was thinking, ‘Oh no. Is he hurt?’ Before, I’d be yelling at him to get up.”

Garnett and Paul Pierce are toiling in Brooklyn for a hugely disappointing Nets team that has been underwhelming under new coach Jason Kidd.

“My heart breaks for them,” Rivers said. “It’s not what was supposed to happen. It’s just so strange. It’s amazing how much I watch them.

“I just wanted them to do well. That’s all. When I watch them now it’s like I’m rooting for [daughter] Callie or [sons] Jeremiah and Austin.”

I’m with Doc on this one. It kills me to see KG and Paul Pierce struggling in Brooklyn. The report about Pierce losing his passion for the game damn near broke my heart.

Rivers also spoke about some of former players still wearing green:

He does not know Celtics coach Brad Stevens, but appreciates what he’s accomplished in this young season. Rivers has kept in touch with Jeff Green and receives intermittent text messages from Rajon Rondo, Boston’s mercurial point guard with whom the coach often clashed. Rivers said their relationship today is probably as “strong as it’s ever been.”

“I keep up with some of the guys,” Rivers said. “It’s been so great to watch Brandon Bass, who came in not really known as a defender, and now is thriving in that role. And I love watching Avery [Bradley] grow. I still say he’s 1 or 2 on the list of the best in terms of pressuring the ball. Jeff Green will always be someone I admire, for everything he went through.

“There’s not as many guys there anymore. Each year, it’s less and less. Things change, and people move on, but I still have a strong emotional attachment there.

“It was the longest place I’ve been in my pro career, either as a player or a coach.”

“The Celtics will never leave me. I will carry that with me the rest of my career.”

I’ve been very clear with my opinion on Doc’s situation. While he’s entitled to seek employment anywhere his heart desires, I feel like he quit on this team.

Will I hold it against him for eternity? Probably not.

Would I boo him on Wednesday night? Probably.