Boston sports fans, occasionally accused of lacking decorum, gave an appropriately warm homecoming to former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday night, when he returned to TD Garden as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. Instead of pelting him with boos — the customary salutation for returning sports stars like Ray Allen or Johnny Damon — Rivers got a standing ovation when he entered, and a video tribute during the game.
Perhaps the unusual class with which Rivers handled his nine years with the Celtics prompted fans to return the favor. Or, as a coach who was traded for a first-round draft pick, Rivers gets a pass on some of the venom directed at players who abandon Boston for a rival. And it helps that the Celtics are in first place in their division even without him. Whatever the reason, it was a fitting welcome, and the team and fans deserve praise for showing that even in sports-crazed Boston, bearing grudges has its limits.