NEW YORK - Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche scored 21 points each on Friday, but it was Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the spotlight as Brooklyn beat Doc Rivers' Los Angeles Clippers 102-93 in their NBA clash.
Pierce had 10 points and Garnett scored just two, but the former Boston stars emerged with the victory over their former Celtics coach Rivers in their first meeting since Rivers took the helm of the Clippers this season.
"I'll always have a special place for Doc," said Garnett, who made a point of shaking Rivers' hand and giving his old coach a quick hug before the game.
"I was shocked that Kevin came over before the game because he has a routine," Rivers said.
Garnett said Rivers had been a mentor to him.
"No one's perfect, all humans have their flaws or whatever, but ... shoot, he's damn near close to it," Garnett said of his former coach. "I'm just grateful he came into my life, and that I had that experience to him."
Pierce, who came off the bench for a second straight game, said he and Rivers remained in touch.
"We talk, we keep in contact all the time, we text," Pierce said. "So when you accomplish something special, a championship ... it's like a connection you have for life when you do something special like that."
Garnett and Pierce were traded to Brooklyn in July, a month after Rivers departed for the Clippers after nine years guiding the Celtics.