- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau are very different in the way they handle the media.
Thibodeau, the man who grinded his way to a head coaching job after two decades as an NBA assistant (including three on Rivers' staff in Boston), isn't always forthcoming with information. He sees the media as a necessary evil.
Rivers, who spent 13 years in the league as a player, is the complete opposite. He seems to enjoy the give and take with the media. He's always quick with a good story, as was the case before Sunday's game. It's obvious Rivers has a lot of respect for Thibodeau and the job he's done in Chicago.
"Well, he’s a great coach, but he’s worked at it," Rivers said. "I think he’s worked on a lot of things. We talk a lot, and I think you guys know that. He’s worked on coaching and he’s worked on personalities, too. Working with people, and I told the Chicago people this when he got the job, Thibs has the exterior, that you think that -- he’s a great guy, but you don’t see that. I think his players see that. You know what I mean? I think that was part of the reason he wasn’t hired [earlier]. Because they thought he was this guy that wouldn’t get along with anybody. Thibs just works and he expects everybody else to work as hard as him. Which is impossible. But around him, he’s a terrific personality. I’m trying to think of another coach -- Belichick maybe, is similar in that way, away from it. I think his players see that. And that’s all that really matters, if you can get your guys to buy in and he has."
Rivers noted that he actually had to do a little recruiting to help Thibodeau take the Bulls' job a couple seasons ago.
"I tell you, that was a conversation [Saturday] night [at dinner]," Rivers said. "I remember sitting in the hotel room [between Games 1 and 2 of NBA Finals in 2010 in Los Angeles] and he had two jobs. You can ask him, he was leaning towards [the other one] and I actually grabbed him by the shoulders and said, ‘Are you kidding me? You get a chance to coach Derrick Rose and you’re thinking about another job? Are you freakin’ nuts?’ And we laugh about it now. They were offering him a longer deal and a bigger deal and I literally said, ‘If it’s a penny to go there, and $10 million to go to other place, I’m going to the penny.’ Because in the long run, you’ll be allowed to coach. And you’ll be allowed to win, which will allow you to coach more. He made a great choice."
who picks up the tab when Rivers and Thibodeau eat?
m still doing that," Rivers said. "But that will change. Very soon, I hope."
ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg contributed to this report.
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
1dJason McCallum, ESPN Stats & Info