The Celtics showed off their experience as they went into the Wells Fargo Center and defeated the Sixers 95-86. The win staved off elimination for Boston and it now means there will be a Game 7 on Sunday back at the TD Garden.
If the Sixers do lose Game 7, one has to assume that there will be sweeping changes for this group. If they can’t get it done, this will be the third consecutive season that Philadelphia will be ousted from the semifinals and that means coach Doc Rivers’ job security will be questioned.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith hopped on “First Take” and believes the Sixers should keep Rivers even if the Sixers do fall in Game 7:
We know he’s done a hell of a job, but the reality is, is that you got to Game 6 on your home court after winning Game 5 in Boston. Everybody’s looking forward to you finally getting to a conference finals. They’re gonna bring up Doc Rivers’ record how this is his 16th Game 7, he’s lost nine of them, on at least four of occasions, he’s lost a 3-1 lead, they’re gonna bring up all of this stuff, and they’re going to use it as an excuse. If it’s me, and I’m owning the Philadelphia 76ers, I’m not letting go of Doc Rivers. I know the man’s a hell of a coach. I’m holding on to that brother, but I don’t know if they’re going to make that decision, and me personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked at everybody. You gotta win Game 7 is basically what this comes down to. You’re the Philadelphia 76ers, you got to go back into Boston. Back into Boston and you got to replicate what you did in Game 5 not just save your season, but possibly to save your job.
Smith is right. Rivers has done a helluva job with this group and he has made the correct adjustments even in this series. The Sixers are in a great position to contend for a title as Rivers has pushed the right buttons when the time calls for it.
Does Rivers have his faults? Absolutely. Everybody does. However, the job he has done in both the 2021-22 season and the 2022-23 season has been terrific amid everything that the Sixers have had to battle through.
Unfortunately, when considering the nature of this business, Rivers has a strong chance to be let go if Philadelphia can’t get it done in Game 7.