11.20.2015

Doc, Flip and the 7.5 Mile Walk



Coach Doc Rivers on Monday at practice talked about some of good times he had with Flip Saunders, the former head coach who died Sunday at age 60 after a fight with cancer.

“We were very close, obviously,” Rivers said. “Coaching the Goodwill Games together was where our relationship started.”

His favorite memory came when Saunders began flying with Rivers’ Boston Celtics during the 2012 playoffs as an unofficial assistant coach after Saunders was fired by the Washington Wizards that January.

Rivers and Saunders had a deal where they would walk back to the hotel after a road game, regardless of the distance. The first round in Atlanta was a 2-mile walk.

“Then we got to Philly and that walk was 7 1/2 miles and so the first game we did it, the second game we did it,” Rivers said. “And then we lost (Game 6), which we could have knocked them out. We go back in the coaches’ room and everybody’s down. But Flip looked just despondent.

“And I was like, ‘Why are you so upset?’ He said, ‘I don’t care about the loss, I’m pissed because we have to talk back to the hotel 7 1/2 miles.’ And we did it. He was just great to be around. I love him. It’s really sad.”

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