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Clippers celebrate Doc Rivers' 900th career victory

L.A.'s coach becomes 13th in NBA history to reach that mark

Back on Nov. 3, 1999, then-Orlando Magic coach Doc Rivers secured his first NBA coaching victory with a 103-94 decision against the Detroit Pistons. A little more than 20 years later, he has joined some elite coaching company.

In guiding the LA Clippers to a 107-101 home win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, Rivers collected career victory No. 900. That made him the 13th coach in NBA history with 900 victories, joining Dick Motta, Red Auerbach, Bill Fitch, Rick Adelman, Larry Brown, Phil Jackson, George Karl, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Gregg Popovich, Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson on the list.

(For reference, only Karl, Adelman, Motta, and the still-actively coaching Popovich are not in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.)

Rivers got doused by Montrezl Harrell in the postgame locker room to celebrate his milestone. He credited late Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly — who preceded him as coach in Orlando — for vouching for him.

“It’s just the people,” he said, citing his assistants over the years in Orlando, Boston and LA. “The players are the most important. They make you better. Those plays you run at the end, that’s the players making those shots. It’s all them.”

Rivers needs 36 wins to surpass Motta for 12th on the all-time coaching wins list. Given the expectations for the Clippers this season, Rivers could theoretically be No. 10 in wins by season’s end. He needs 39 wins to surpass Auerbach for No. 11 and 45 wins to jump past Fitch for No. 10 all-time.

In another bit of Clippers news was the off-court attire of star forward Kawhi Leonard. He arrived at Staples Center sporting a shirt that said “Be Kind Always” and had a variety of other messages written on it. He explained after the game that the shirt was made by students as a thank-you gift for the 1 million backpacks he donated before the season began to schools in L.A. and Moreno Valley.

Lastly, in another case of fashion intersecting with the NBA world, the Clippers sported their Buffalo Braves-styled orange and black Classic Edition uniforms. The uniforms were worn to pay homage to the franchise’s 50th anniversary and its New York state era from 1970-78. But given the historic nature of Rivers’ accomplishment and the special meaning behind Leonard’s outfit, it seemed especially fitting.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.