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We question the validity of this amazing Doc Rivers story.

On Wednesday night, Doc Rivers told a wildly entertaining story from his days as Celtics coach in which Danny Ainge instructed him at halftime of a game to intentionally get ejected … so that they could watch Tiger Woods at The Masters together.

Well if Doc gets thrown out tonight, you know why.

— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 2, 2017

It’s a great story, and I was curious about the details, so I went about tracking down the specific game.

We know at the 1:02 mark he mentions it being in Miami, and we know it would have to be in April, which immediately narrows the possibilities down to these four games:

The 2007 and 2012 games can then be ruled out because The Masters had ended days earlier, which leaves just the contest in 2011 and 2013 as the alleged game in question.

Let’s start by taking a look at the 2013 game. A lot of details mesh with Rivers’ recollection. If they had punted a game, this seems as likely as any. They sat their two best players, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, against a Heat squad that was entering that game having just won 33 of their previous 35 games and were at the apex of their historically lofty heights. Also, at the 35-second mark we hear him emphasize how there were free throws the very first possession, which also checks out. There’s just one teeny tiny thing that blows the whole story up:

Friday night, 7:30 p.m. tip-off. That day’s Masters round had ended hours earlier by the time the game even started, let alone by halftime. Bucket of cold water.

Let’s move on to the other option in 2011. A Sunday afternoon game, which would seem to be the most likely time the game in question would take place. Very promising, right? Ehh, not so much, for a couple reasons. That seemingly vivid recollection of free throws at the immediate start of the third quarter most certainly does NOT check out. But even more than that, IT WAS A HUUUUGE game. It was a head-to-head clash between two teams with identical 55-24 records, so the winner would essentially clinch the two-seed — a far cry from Rivers’ nonchalant dismissal of any importance to the game and his declaration that “everything had been wrapped up as far as playoffs.” It was close at halftime, and yet you’re telling me Danny Ainge wanted to punt THAT game which would all but secure homecourt advantage for the Eastern Semifinal series between the two teams? And even if he did, even if he defied all reasonable logic to punt that game to the flagrant extent of telling a coach to get a double technical, concede two free throws, and get ejected … you’re still playing 33-year-old Paul Pierce, 34-year-old Kevin Garnett, and 35-year-old Ray Allen a combined 106 minutes?? Does. Not. Add. Up.

Doc, I have so many questions.

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