The Sixers Fire Head Coach Doc Rivers

The Philadelphia 76ers fired head coach Doc Rivers, the team announced on Tuesday.

Following a game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics, the team president Daryl Morey decided to fire Rivers after three years in Philadelphia. That was the third straight second-round loss for the Sixers, who expected to go way deeper in the Playoffs since they have two of the last four MVP players on the roster, Joel Embiid and James Harden.

“We’re grateful for all he did in his three seasons here and thank him for the important impact he made on our franchise,” team president Daryl Morey said in a statement. “After having the chance to reflect upon our season, we decided that certain changes are necessary to further our goals of competing for a championship.”

Doc Rivers
Photo by Icon Sport

Rivers led the 76ers to their second straight 50-win season behind NBA MVP Joel Embiid who was also the NBA’s leading scorer for the second consecutive season.

The Sixers started well in the Playoffs sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round. Then they won the opening game against the Celtics in Boston and had a 3-2 lead. However, the Sixers were not able to deliver the final punch and after being demolished in the decisive game, Rivers was let go.

The Sixers failed to make it to the first conference finals after 2001, and they have not won the NBA championship since 1983.

That was Rivers’ 10th Game 7 loss in 16 such games in his career and fifth straight. No other coach in NBA history has lost more than 5 Game 7s.

Rivers and the Sixers also lost a decisive Game 7 at home in the second round to the Atlanta Hawks in 2021 as a No. 1 seed.

Asked after the 112-88 thumping in Boston if he expected to be back next year, Rivers said: “Yeah. I think I got two years left. No one is safe in our business and I get that.”

Rivers had two years left on his contract and was 154-82 in three years with the Sixers. He won the 2008 NBA title as coach of the Boston Celtics. He took over the team back in 2020, replacing Brett Brown who was fired after the team was swept in the opening Playoff round by the Celtics.

Rivers is the latest big coaching name fired recently after Nick Nurse was fired from Toronto and Mike Budenholzer from Milwaukee despite the fact that they both won championships since 2019. Monty Williams who made a NBA Finals appearances with the Suns in 2021 was also fired from Phoenix.

The Sixers built this team in the past decade hoping to win their first NBA championship in 40 years. Trusting the process brought them among the best teams in the league but they did not make any Playoff success to remember. Now the team is going to a difficult off-season as they need to replace their coach and decide if they will try to resign James Harden. There is no doubt that Embiid is staying in Philadelphia but Harden reportedly wants to go back to Houston.

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