Doc Rivers Admits Giving Up in 4th Quarter Against Heat in Game 6

Doc Rivers

Getty Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on March 27, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Miami Heat (4-2) are on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 in Game 6 on Thursday, May 12.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, they had no answer for Heat star Jimmy Butler, who put up 32 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two blocks, or Max Strus, who continued his own hot streak, scoring 20 points with 11 rebounds and five assists.

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The game was still close at the half, with the Heat up over the Sixers 49-48. However, Miami went on a 23-4 run in the third quarter and entered the fourth up 74-63. While the Sixers cut a 20-point deficit to 11 points, with 2:47 left to play, Gabe Vincent drilled a nasty three-pointer with the 2:21 left in regulation, and Philadelphia appeared to give up.

During the final few minutes of the game, Sixers stars James Harden and Joel Embiid were on the bench, along with the rest of the team’s starters. Considering it was a win-or-go-home type of playoff game, it was disheartening to see the team not give it their all up until the final moments.

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was asked during the postgame press conference why he switched to playing all his reserves late in the fourth quarter, and he admitted that he didn’t see a point to keep fighting.

“I came to the conclusion at the end of this game that we were just not good enough to beat Miami,” Rivers said.

When Rivers was asked if he was worried about his job security, the Sixers coach was not in the mood. “I think I do a terrific job, and if you don’t, then you should write it. Because I worked my butt off to get this team here. When I first got here, no one picked us to be anywhere, and again this year, the same thing. So, if that’s how anyone feels, write it and I’m going to feel secure about it.”

James Harden Scored 0 Points in the Second Half

Embiid, playing with a torn ligament in his thumb and a face mask to protect his right orbital fracture, put up 20 points against the Heat in Game 6, shooting just 7-of-24. While Tyrese Maxey put up 20 points, and Tobias Harris scored 14, Harden finished the game with 11 points, all of which happened in the first half.

The Heat deserves credit for their stellar defensive performance, and for continuing to play at such a high level without starting point guard Kyle Lowry.

“What this team has shown over the course of the year,” Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra said during the postgame press conference, “is that you can find different solutions to win.”

The Eastern Conference Finals Will Start Either Sunday or Tuesday

While Miami has successfully punched their ticket to the postseason, Heat Nation must wait until they find out their opponent.

Next up, the Heat will face the winner of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics. The Bucks lead 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Milwaukee, which takes place on Friday, May 13.

“You want to acknowledge the steps along the way,” Spoelstra said heading to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat’s sixth time in the last 12 seasons. “We have been doing this 27 years since Pat [Riley] came back to South Florida, nine conference finals. It’s not easy in this league. And I wanted everyone in the locker room to acknowledge that. It’s not everything, but it’s something.”

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