With the Philadelphia 76ers falling to the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon in Game 7 on the road, the focus now turns to the offseason. Considering this is their third consecutive Round 2 elimination, there are some changes that have to be made.
Coach Doc Rivers is going to have a lot of fingers pointing at him following the loss. He was brought to Philadelphia to do what his predecessor, Brett Brown, wasn’t able to do and push them to the finals.
While he hasn’t been able to do so during his time coaching the Sixers, it isn’t necessarily his fault and ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins went on “First Take” to defend Rivers while blasting stars Joel Embiid and James Harden:
No. Hell no. What else are they gonna go get it? And here’s the problem that I have. That record, 6-10 in Game 7s, that record is fool’s gold. Let me explain why it’s fool’s gold. In Game 7s, it’s about your superstars taking you home. It’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s not about coaching, it’s about who want it the most. I’ve been in Game 7s with Doc Rivers. I’ve been in Game 7 where Paul Pierce had to go toe to toe with LeBron James. I witnessed that. It has nothing to do with schemes or none of that. PJ Tucker had more points than James Harden last night and a blind man could see Joel Embiid walking up and down the damn floor, walking into pick a rolls, Doc Rivers tried to make adjustments on Jayson Tatum when he tried to trap him in the pick-and-roll, he went right around Joel Embiid. I was like is he tired? The game just started. The game just started, and so what I don’t want to happen is this, because we already know the love affair that Daryl Morey and James Harden have for one another. I don’t want them to trick the owners or the Philadelphia 76ers into believing James Harden is still that dude and Doc Rivers was the problem because that’s not the case and guess what? If James Harden wants to walk, dammit, let him walk, because I would let him walk because I would love to see the emergence of Tyrese Maxey and I would also pursue a guy like Kyrie Irving. Could you imagine Kyrie Irving with a Joel Embiid and a Tyrese Maxey? I would love to see it. I think he actually needed a coach like a Doc Rivers. So no, I don’t think Philly should fire Doc. I don’t think that game last night was on his hands. I believe that his superstars in James Harden and Joel Embiid quit. Jayson Tatum snatched their souls last night and quit.
It remains to be seen what becomes of the situation surrounding Rivers. He still has two years left on his deal and he received an endorsement from MVP Embiid for the job he has done, but everybody knows and understands this business. The Sixers will have some decisions to make in the coming days.