NBA regular season

Doc Rivers makes coaching history after Bucks win, All-Star honor 


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Doc Rivers makes coaching history after Bucks win, All-Star honor 

TACTICS. Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers talks with forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during a game.

Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

After scoring his first Milwaukee victory, newly named Bucks coach Doc Rivers not only climbs the NBA coaching record list, but also earns All-Star coaching honor just days in

Doc Rivers didn’t just pick up his first win as Milwaukee’s new head coach  in Dallas on Saturday night, February 3 (Sunday, February 4, Manila time).

The Bucks’ 129-117 come-from-behind win over the Mavericks also resulted in him being named 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 (33-16) in the Eastern Conference behind Boston (37-12), but 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. 

The All-Star honor goes to the coach of the winningest team in each conference.

“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.

Top two comebacks

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.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo erupted for 48 points and Lillard added 30 on 10-of-11 shooting to lead the Bucks to a 129-117 come-from-behind victory over the host Mavericks.

Milwaukee trailed by as many as 25 points, making it the owner of the top two comebacks in the NBA this season. The Bucks also rallied from a 26-point deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on November 26.

The Bucks 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.”

Luka 40 spoiled

Luka Doncic led the way with 40 points for the Mavericks, who were without Kyrie Irving (thumb). He flirted with a triple-double, also supplying 9 boards and 11 assists. 

Maxi Kleber contributed 21 points and Josh Green finished with 20.

Dallas saw its lead grow to 25 early in the second quarter and was up 65-45 with 2:12 remaining in the period before the Bucks went on a 15-0 run to end the first half, with Lillard nailing a three-pointer at the buzzer. 

That brought Milwaukee within 65-60 at the break, and it carried that momentum into the third quarter.

The Bucks went back on top with 6:08 left in the frame, when Middleton canned a trey to make it 78-75. Milwaukee pushed its advantage to 8 points at 83-75, but Dallas trailed by just one, 93-92, heading into the fourth.

Antetokounmpo then took over, scoring 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the final frame as the Bucks started to run away with the game. 

When he converted a layup with 3:57 remaining, Milwaukee led 118-109, and the visitors later opened up a 15-point cushion with 8 unanswered points to clinch the victory. –

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