(SportsNetwork.com) - With one emotional hurdle cleared, Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers have to get back to business Thursday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets.
Rivers returned to Boston as the Clippers coach on Wednesday, and although he guided his Los Angeles squad to a 96-88 victory at TD Garden, it was an emotional evening.
Rivers spent nine seasons at the helm of the Boston Celtics, leading them to an NBA title in 2008. While his split this offseason wasn't without some acrimony, the Boston faithful gave Rivers a standing ovation before the game and once again during a video tribute between the first and second quarters.
"It was just a really nice day," said a highly emotional Rivers. "This is, it's just such a classy place here. So it was really nice when I walked out and, you know I'm not used to walking out on that side, and all those guys, the people, they lined up and I was basically useless for the first 18 minutes of the game.
"I thought, it was just nice."
The Clippers overcame a six-point halftime deficit with a 27-19 third quarter. They held on with a 30-24 fourth to earn their second consecutive win and push their mark to 3-2 on this seven-game road trip.
Jamal Crawford came up huge down the stretch, netting 11 of his 21 points in the fourth. Chris Paul tallied 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the triumph while Blake Griffin scored 18 points.
Antawn Jamison hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter to go over 20,000 points in his career and the newest Clipper, Stephen Jackson, went scoreless in 12:18 of action.
The Clippers finish this road trip Saturday night in Washington.
Brooklyn also features some nostalgia for Rivers in former Celtics' stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Those two, along with Ray Allen, were the centerpieces of the Boston title team, but the Nets already visited the Clippers this season, so Rivers has seen both.
The Nets have won two in a row, including a home victory over the Celtics on Tuesday.
Deron Williams returned from a nine-game absence and scored a season-high 25 points to go with seven assists.
"He's a guy who can put pressure with a single fast break," Nets head coach Jason Kidd said of Williams. "Just his presence gave everybody a lift."
Brook Lopez scored 24 points and Alan Anderson added 15. Garnett and Andray Blatche finished with 11 apiece.
Pierce returned earlier than expected from a hand injury. He played 22:14 off the bench Tuesday and had four points, all from the foul line. It was the first time Pierce and Garnett played their old team.
"It's different," Garnett said of facing the Celtics. "But no matter who's playing on that team, I'll always have an affiliation with that."
The Clippers downed the Nets, 110-103 in L.A. on Nov. 16 and have won three of the last five meetings. The Clippers have dropped five straight as the visitors in this series.