The Philadelphia 76ers blew a golden opportunity to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night. Now, the Sixers will have to win a do-or-die Game 7 against the Celtics in Boston. That feat in itself won’t be easy.
Taking Doc Rivers’ track record into consideration won’t make fans feel any better heading into the Sunday showdown. Any way you look at things, the data just doesn’t back Rivers in the slightest.
Game 7s haven’t been kind to Doc Rivers over the years. He’s 6-9 for his career while having zero success over the past eight years. His teams have lost all four of his Game 7s dating back to 2015, including the Sixers’ Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks two playoffs ago.
All six of his Game 7 wins, again all of which happened before 2015, have been at home. He’ll have to lead the Sixers to a road win on Sunday, something he’s never been able to do for his career.
Doc Rivers is 6-9 all-time Game 7s. Hasn't won a Game 7 since 2015. Lost the last four by an average of 12 points per game. Has never won a Game 7 on the road.
— 𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧 𝐑𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐨 (@FlyByKnite) May 12, 2023
Rivers’s nine Game 7 defeats is also four more than any other coach in NBA history.
However, it isn’t just Game 7s that have been Doc Rivers’ bugaboo – it’s playoff closeout games in any capacity. Including this Game 6 the Sixers lost, it’s nine straight chances to make the Conference Finals that a Rivers-coached team has failed to win. Different All-Star casts, different role players, and two different franchises in that span with Rivers being the common denominator.
Doc Rivers last 9 games to make it to the Conference Finals:
2015 Game 5 — Loss
2015 Game 6 — Loss
2015 Game 7 — Loss
2017 Game 7 — Loss
2020 Game 5 — Loss
2020 Game 6 — Loss
2020 Game 7 — Loss
2021 Game 7 — Loss
2023 Game 6 — Loss pic.twitter.com/rD6VT9XHnk
— َ (@FeelLikeDrew) May 12, 2023
He’s also lost the most closeout games in NBA history, with a dismal 17-32 record across his 49 opportunities as a head coach.
Doc Rivers is now 17-32 all-time with an opportunity to close out a playoff series (min. 15 games).
The 32 losses are the most by any coach in NBA history 😬 pic.twitter.com/oiROlQzOUu
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 12, 2023
Maybe 50th time’s the charm for Doc Rivers? Sixers fans will have to hope so as their side takes on the Celtics for Game 7 on Sunday.