Today Jeremiah Rivers' paternal grandfather--Grady Alexander Rivers Sr.--passed away in Chicago, IL. The VBB's condolences go out to the entire Rivers family.
Celtics coach Rivers leaves team after learning of father's death
Updated: November 4, 2007, 7:42 PM ET
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.