Doc Rivers has always been a good guy. Someone close, a friend of the players, who transmits good vibes and treats the press well. Bad words have rarely been heard from him, he has always shown enormous respect to the rival and he has the approval of almost the entire NBA, in which he has a great reputation and is loved by players and fans. But of course, when you are the coach of the best league in the world, it does not only count that you are a majete. And Doc Rivers is running out of excuses in two straight years that have been nothing short of a disaster. Last year on the Clippers, after wasting a 3-1 in favor against a theoretically inferior team, such as the Nuggets. In the current one, the defeat has also been in the semifinals, but in the East and against the Hawks, a team that in February had a record of 14-20, that does not have an All Star and that started as the fifth of its Conference with a change of coach in the middle of the course included.
There have been many times that Rivers has failed in the playoffs, almost a classic in his career only interrupted by the 2008 ring, the day he touched glory with the Celtics and the only green franchise ring in the last 35 years, one that serves to reluctantly justify their particular modern age. Of course, a champion is forever, and Rivers’ team showed enormous resilience that year and was a very difficult opponent to beat in the following years … but they did not win again. And that there were Garnett, Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, quartermaster like Glenn Davis, Kendrick Perkins or Nate Robinson and luxury veterans who once passed through the ranks of the Massachusetts entity, such as Sam Cassell, PJ Brown, Rasheed Wallace, or even Shaquille O’Neal. Much name for a single award.
Rivers has always trained good people. He came to the Magic as a rookie, in 1999-00, and won the Coach of the Year award in his debut season. Before, As a player, he excelled greatly in the Hawks and spent up to 13 seasons in the NBA, where he gained great popularity for his know-how and his ability to like everyone. But as a coach, he was not too lucky: in the Magic he triumphed, but was left without a prize and wasted a 3-1 in the first round with Tracy McGrady in the lead and Grant Hill limping and immersed in his well-known injury history. The thing did not stop there: in 2015, he was 3-1 up when he trained the Clippers, against the Rockets, and lost. And the situation was repeated last year, again with the Angelenos, but this time against Jokic and company.
Today, Doc Rivers has lost in 29 games in which he could have qualified for the next round. His percentage in these situations is 35%, the worst in the history of any coach in the competition. It is also the one that has lost the most seventh games, four of them at home, five if we count the bubble. In addition, he has missed a 3-1 lead three times, once a 2-0 and three times a 3-2. One, in the 2010 Finals against the Lakers; and another, in the 2012 Conference finals against the LeBron Heat, in which they were close to giving the machado, but wasted the sixth in the Boston Garden despite making a tremendous effort and going from 2-0 to 2- 3 in the tie. In the series against the Hawks, they were up 18 in Game 4 and 26 in Game 5., two unforgivable advantages of losing, especially the second, in which they were giving a real exhibition and collapsed in the end.
Doc Rivers had 33 and 24 wins in his first two years in Boston, but Danny Ainge wanted to bet on him in the tradition of the Celtics and kept him in the position despite criticism when the big three was formed. And he was right, with a ring that no one takes away from him and an innate ability to like everyone and sponsor Ubuntu by being pragmatic., empowering Tom Thibodeau as a defensive specialist and appointing Kevin Garnett as his track general. But his excessive transfers to Kawhi and Paul George last year and his lack of response against the Hawks today (few minutes for Howard, too many for George Hill, ambivalence with Simmons …) have dealt a further blow to a reputation that it is increasingly questioned. Of course, with all this, we must remember one thing that we must never forget: Doc Rivers won the NBA ring in 2008. And a champion, he is forever.