Sixers’ Doc Rivers Explains Call to Play Unexpected Veteran in Huge Game 5 Win

Doc Rivers

Getty Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers

With the series tied at two games apiece headed into Game 5, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers made a decision that no one saw coming – playing little-used backup wing Danuel House Jr.

In 15 minutes of action, House scored 10 points while shooting five-for-seven from the field to go with five rebounds. After saying that House was “fantastic,” Rivers explained why he decided to play House in the Sixers’ pivotal Game 5 victory over the Boston Celtics.

“You go with a gut. I can tell you we talked about it painstakingly yesterday and today between three guys who to play, and I can tell you House was not the pick, but I just picked him. I thought we needed size, and we needed athleticism. That’s something that he has,” Rivers told reporters, per

House has not seen much time since the Sixers started their series against the Celtics, playing almost nine minutes in total in the series before Game 5. House was added to the roster this past offseason due to his familiarity with James Harden during their days together with the Houston Rockets but had fallen out of the Sixers’ rotation.

House played well enough that Rivers must consider keeping him in the rotation going forward.

Danuel House Jr. Talks About What Doc Rivers Told Him

During his postgame press conference, House revealed what Rivers told him when he decided to play him in Game 5.

“To be honest with you, he really didn’t tell me—yeah, he told me a role, but he just told me go in and play and my job was to bring energy, showcase a little bit for the team, guard the yard, and make sure I’m executing plays,” House said, per

House added how important his prior playoff experience is to a team like the Sixers.

“It’s huge. It’s huge because it brings much necessary depth. (Rivers) trusted his gut feeling. He went with a guy that has some experience.”

Doc Rivers Sounds Off on Job Security

Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett reported that Rivers could potentially lose his job if the Sixers don’t go on an extended playoff run.

“There is talk in the industry that his Philly future could be in jeopardy if these Sixers don’t make it to the NBA Finals,” Bulpett reported.

Despite that losing his job could be a reality, Rivers told Bulpett that he’s ready to accept whatever comes his way no matter what happens.

“You’ve got to have confidence,” he told Bulpett. “I know I’m doing the job — and that still doesn’t guarantee you win. I know that. That doesn’t mean you deserve to go anywhere, but if that’s what happens, I’m like, OK. That’s how I look at it.”

Now, Rivers and the Sixers are one game away from Conference Finals. Should they get over that hump, it would be the Sixers’ first Eastern Conference Finals berth since 2001 and would be Rivers’ first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 2012, which was his second-to-last season with the Celtics.

Rivers would be building a compelling case to stick around as coach should they end their division rival’s season.