“There’s been a lot of expectations on our team,” Lillard said. “Things have been expected to look a certain way. We’ve had a bumpy road to our success, which is sometimes a part of the process. I was surprised. But it’s part of the game. People get traded, people get waived, people get fired, and that’s never something you want to see.”
Five days after returning to the NBA sidelines, Doc Rivers has clinched a spot as the Eastern Conference coach in the All-Star Game, the league announced (via Twitter).
Rivers and his staff wrapped up the honor tonight when the Bucks overcame a 25-point deficit to win in Dallas and the Knicks lost at home to the Lakers. That ensures Milwaukee will have the best record in the East on Sunday’s cutoff date among teams with eligible coaches. The Celtics lead the conference at 37-12, but Joe Mazzulla took part in the 2023 game and coaches aren’t permitted to participate in back-to-back years.
This will be the fourth All-Star Game for Rivers, who also coached in 2008, 2011 and 2021, but he was reluctant to accept it under the circumstances, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link). Stein said Rivers told him before tonight’s contest that he doesn’t think he deserves to take part after just three games with the Bucks, but the NBA overruled him. Rivers plans to give his All-Star ring and bonus to former Bucks coach Adrian Griffin, who was fired on January 23, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
After picking up his first win with Milwaukee tonight, Rivers commented on the All-Star situation, saying, “That is so ridiculously bad.” He also joked about sending his coaching staff to the game and going on vacation (video link).
This year’s game will take place February 18 in Indianapolis. The format is reverting to an East-West matchup after six years of having team captains select the rosters.