Rivers spent nine seasons with the Celtics before leaving in summer.
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers has conceded that it will be a “tough night” as he prepares to return to Boston to face former team the Celtics.
Rivers made the tough personal decision to leave Boston in the summer, but his exit was ultimately dragged on as he considered the option of helping the franchise rebuild.
However, having decided to leave and challenge for another NBA title with a contender in the Western Conference, his choice has split opinion with some suggesting that he walked out on the Celtics as he had three years left on his contract.
Nevertheless, Rivers insists that although a quicker decision was perhaps the only thing lacking, he and president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, never argued over the situation and supposedly left on good terms.
“It’s going to be a hard night,” he said, as reported by ESPN.
“I already told my coaches that it’s going to be hard. You don’t spend nine years in one place and win a title, and have the emotions you have toward the city and the fans, and be normal when the game starts.
“It’s just not going to happen; at least I don’t think so. I’ve already prepared my coaches to be good coaches tonight because it’s going to be too tough for me.”
The Celtics received the Clippers’ first-round draft pick in 2015 in exchange for Rivers, while they also obtained draft picks from the Brooklyn Nets after they agreed on a trade deal for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
However, rookie coach Brad Stevens will be quietly satisfied with his efforts thus far, having led Boston to a 10-13 start to the season which leaves them in fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the Clippers have shown some promising signs that they will be a genuine contender this year, as they are also sat in fourth place, but in the Western Conference, with a 14-8 record.
Nevertheless, it promises to be an emotional night for Rivers at the TD Garden as he conceded that he expects some to boo but is hopeful of a positive reaction from a city that he still holds close to his heart.