Doc and Avery Go Back Aways

Doc Rivers and Avery Johnson share a common trait. Each is happy that the other is coaching in a different conference.

Rivers and Johnson were teammates for two years in San Antonio in 1994-96 and became close friends.

"He's my best friend," said Rivers, the Celtics' coach. "We talk a lot. Sometimes we go 2-3 weeks without talking; sometimes we talk about five days a week.

"We're great for each other because we're in different conferences, so we can share ideas. It's really a good relationship and one I really value."

With the Celtics on pace for one of the biggest turnarounds in NBA history -- obviously because of the additions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen -- Johnson has joked that suddenly Rivers has become a better coach than he was last season when the Celtics did not make the playoffs.

"We talk a lot about the craft of coaching," Johnson said. "I would say obviously he's one of my closest friend and we compete in a lot of ways. I think smart people talk to smart people and he's always been a smart guy.

"He's in a great situation. Like I said, he was a great coach before and after KG."

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