Wittman ready to take on old pal Rivers

Wittman ready to take on old pal Rivers
November 3, 2012, 11:45 am
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The friendship between Wizards coach Randy Wittman and Celtics coach Doc Rivers goes back nearly 30 years, but it hasn’t been enough to dampen their competitive fires.

“I want to kick his ass,” Wittman said with a laugh prior to tonight’s home opener against the Celtics at Verizon Center. “And you can tell him that, because I want to tell him that.”

Wittman and Rivers entered the NBA as rookie teammates with the Atlanta Hawks in 1983 and spent five years together as a backcourt duo, leading the Hawks to three straight division titles from 1984-87.

The two parted ways in 1988 when the Hawks traded Wittman and first-round pick Ricky Berry to the Sacramento Kings for Reggie Theus and a third-round pick.

Wittman, 53, went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, finishing with 4,034 points and 1,201 assists. Rivers, 51, played 13 seasons and finished with 9,377 points and 4,889 assists.

Both went into the NBA coaching ranks after their playing days. Wittman has coached parts of seven seasons with the Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Wizards and owns a career record of 118-239 in 357 games.

Rivers began his coaching career with the Orlando Magic in 1999 and has spent the past nine seasons in Boston, leading the Celtics to an NBA title in 2008 and a conference title in 2010. He has a career mark of 546-435 in 981 career games.

The Celtics already have a pair of losses to open their season with their next two games against the Wizards. They face each other again Wednesday night in Boston.

 “We’re great friends and it’s always fun [to face him],” Wittman said. “Doc’s a great coach, obviously. The success he’s had there -- Boston has made the kind of remarkable run you dream about having with the type of players he’s had there. We talk pretty much once a week to see how everybody’s doing.

“But we’re not talking this week.”