Doc Rivers eyes coaching history as Bucks prepare for Jazz

League: NBA

Posted on: 04 Feb, 2024 at 06:34 AM

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Doc Rivers didn't just pick up his first win as Milwaukee's new head coach on Saturday night in Dallas.

The Bucks' 129-117 come-from-behind win over the Mavericks also resulted in him being dubbed as the coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team despite being on the job for less than a week.

The Bucks have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, but Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla was ineligible to coach the All-Stars again because he had that honor last year.

"That is ridiculously bad. It really is," Rivers said when asked about coaching the East All-Stars. "It's one of these quirky things. I think there should be a rule somehow that someone else does it other than me. Maybe I'll send my staff and I'll go on vacation. I'm going to run that by (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver. Adam's a good man. I think he'll understand."

On Saturday, Rivers also tied Larry Brown for the eighth-most career wins in NBA coaching history. His first opportunity to leapfrog Brown will come Sunday night in Salt Lake City when the Bucks take on the Utah Jazz.

Milwaukee carries some nice momentum into this showdown with the Jazz after digging out of an early 25-point hole en route to a double-digit win in Dallas.

"I thought it was a great win for us," Bucks star Damian Lillard said. "We had a slow start. They came out hot. We just had to answer the call. We kept our composure, stayed with it, stayed together."

Lillard scored 30 points in the comeback victory, which was the second-largest rally this season after Milwaukee previously overcame a 26-point deficit to Portland.

In addition, the Bucks got a huge performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo. He scored 48 points to go along with 10 assists and six rebounds.

Milwaukee used a 15-0 run late in the second quarter to make it a five-point game, then dominated the second half for the impressive road win.

"No one panicked. I thought that was big for our team," Rivers said. "I didn't panic. Nobody panicked. We just kind of hung in there."

The feeling is a bit different for the Jazz, who come into this matchup having lost three in a row and six of their past eight.

Utah allowed Tyrese Maxey to go off for 51 points while losing to the Philadelphia 76ers, 127-124, in its most recent outing on Thursday. Utah, which was coming off a six-game road trip, has been idle since then.

"We got to pay attention to all the little details," said Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, who scored 14 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia. "There's little things in the game we can get better at and we're going to learn from them."

The Jazz momentarily led, 120-117, after the Sixers had led most of the game. But they couldn't hold on down the stretch.

"We got to up our awareness to what's going on in the game," Jazz coach Will Hardy said, "because I think that we're fighting hard physically and, at times, we just seem a little bit mentally unavailable."

--Field Level Media