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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Playing today 'just didn't feel right' for C's

By Chris Forsberg



WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics president Rich Gotham said the team and NBA were on the same page regarding the cancellation of Tuesday's Celtics-Pacers game and that all parties agreed that it wasn't the right time to get back on the court.

"Obviously, after seeing the events [Monday], I think everyone across Boston, New England, shares the same feelings about what a terrible day it was, what a terrible tragedy," said Gotham. "And even a day later, the notion of playing a basketball game in these circumstances just didn't feel right to us. [Monday] after learning about it, within an hour, we picked up the phone and called the NBA, just to get their opinion and get their feelings on whether or not we should go ahead with this game and the mutual feeling was that it would be OK to cancel this game, that some things are bigger than basketball.

"Out of respect to all the people who were affected by this, the families, we felt like it was just not the circumstances we wanted to play under, and felt it would be the best way for us, as an organization, to show our respects to all the people who were impacted by this, so that's the decision we came to, along with the NBA."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers thought it was the right move.

"I didn’t want to play the game. We made that clear -- Rich and Wyc [Grousbeck] and our ownership, they were great," said Rivers. "It wasn’t the right place, it really wasn’t, to be playing a game of basketball [Tuesday]. No one would have been into it. No one wanted to go to it. Honestly, we just wanted to make sure that -- so many people are doing so many things right now, and their focus is there and that’s where it should stay. It shouldn’t be on a basketball game. This has nothing to do with safety, it was more what was right."

Gotham explained the process by which canceling a game -- something that hasn't happened in the league in six decades -- went all the way to the top of the NBA food chain.

"It goes up to the David Stern level, certainly Celtics ownership -- Wyc was very involved in this decision -- and a few people on the NBA side, myself on the Celtics side, just talked through all the different elements, you know, what the implications are," said Gotham. "I think in this case, we talked about the implications after we made a decision, not before. I think we want to make the right decision and then worry about whatever the complications might be."

The Celtics won't play another home game until Game 3 of their first-round series against the New York Knicks, something that will not occur until late next week. While some normalcy will return in that span, Gotham said the team will sit down with TD Garden to discuss an enhanced security plan.

But he stressed that the cancellation Tuesday had more to do with the tragic events, not a fear of public safety.

"We didn't cancel this event out of public security fear. That was not what drove us," said Gotham. "I think it was more a feeling about what's the right thing to do in this situation... I think our venue's going to be a safe venue when we play our next game. And if that was tonight, it would be a safe venue tonight. There's no doubt in our mind about that.

"I just think it was more of an emotional decision to try to do what's right in respect to families, and understand that people might not want to be out -- our games are celebrations in a small way and people might not want to be out celebrating tonight. It was supposed to be Fan Appreciation night tonight, where we celebrate a season with our fans and thank them for their support, and it felt like that would be kind of a tough thing for everyone tonight, the fans and the Celtics, to do that. I think our players probably feel the same way. It would have been a tough night for those guys to really get mentally prepared to play, but they would have, if that's what we were doing, they certain would have."