The Philadelphia 76ers find themselves heading back to Toronto for a Game 6 following back-to-back losses. Still in control of the series, doubt is starting to creep in for some.
This cause for panic stems from Doc Rivers’ rocky playoff history. Following Game 5, he had lost seven of his last eight potential series-closing games. On top of that, Rivers has the worst record of all time in that same scenario at 15-31. Everyone also likes to bring up that he is the only head coach in league history to blow multiple 3-1 leads, which has happened three times.
While Rivers is catching heat from most right now, one former NBA champion has come to his defense. Richard Jefferson was on ESPN’s ‘NBA Today’ and came to his defense. He feels that all of the blame for those playoff shortcomings should not be put on the coach.
He’s right. There is some truth to it… It is not all on the coach, it’s not on the players… At the end of the day, the record is what the record is.
Kendrick Perkins, who played for Rivers in Boston, also chimed in on the matter. Since Rivers has coached a team to a title, Perkins thinks he shouldn’t have to explain himself to anyone.
You know what Doc, you an NBA champion. You don’t have to explain yourself to anybody. I’m just happy I was part of some of those series that we actually closed them out. Let the people say what they want to say.
Doc Rivers Sounds off in Post-Practice Rant
Before making the trip up north, the Sixers got one more practice in at their facility in Camden. Following the action, players and coaches spoke to the media.
During his availability, Rivers was asked about the blown leads and not getting it done in the playoffs. While he took accountability for some instances, he sounded off on his full story not being told. To him, everyone highlights the bad without ever bringing up the times he overachieved in the postseason. Most notably, as a coach for the Orlando Magic.
It’s easy to use me as an example, but I wish y’all would tell the whole story with me. My Orlando team was the eighth seed, nobody gives me credit for getting up against the Pistons, who won the title… With me, some of them is I got to do better, always. I always take my own responsibility.
The pressure is on for Rivers and the Sixers as they look to avoid being in the history books for coughing up a 3-0 lead and having to play a Game 7.
Fans Preparing for the Worst
There is no way around it. Game 6 is must-win territory for Joel Embiid and the Sixers. The last thing they want to do is fly home for a pivotal final matchup.
Given how the Sixers were able to dominate the early games of this series, they should still feel in control. They must emphasize executing and get back to playing their style, not the Raptors’. While Philly is still expected to win the series, fans are already bracing themselves for the worst-case scenario.
The pressure is on for the Sixers now as they have to try and ends things on the road. Only time will tell if they can step up to the challenge or find themselves on the wrong side of history.