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Everything you need to know about Doc Rivers' playoff struggles


In all walks of life, reputation is everything. That’s the reason why Doc Rivers would like to hit the reset button on his.

The longtime NBA coach is no stranger to regular season success, sitting comfortably inside the top 10 for most wins in league history. However, legends are made in the postseason, and legend has it that Rivers isn’t the right Doc for the job.

Despite possessing a fantastic collection of talent, Rivers typically finds himself having to buy a ticket to see the NBA Finals rather than coach for it.

As the old saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

NBA fans have been fooled too many times by Rivers’ teams to be believers anymore. Here’s everything you need to know about Rivers in the postseason, including his record, championships and how those teams have fared in Game 7.

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The important thing to note about Rivers is that his teams are underachievers, but the coach is far from a postseason failure. Longevity is key in these circles, something he has.

Rivers has patrolled the sidelines for 25 years and those playoff runs have seen him catapult into the top five for most postseason wins of all time. He only sits behind coaching greats Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich on the prestigious list.

He entered the 2024 playoffs with a record of 111-104 in games played following the regular season.

More importantly, Rivers has been a fixture in the postseason, missing it only five times in 25 years. Every team he’s coached — Magic, Celtics, Clippers, Sixers, Bucks — has played for a chance to reach the mountaintop and claim the Larry O’Brien trophy, meaning his success isn’t thanks to one situation.

That’s a relatively overlooked fact when it comes to Rivers, who has consistently delivered at every stop. While NBA fans have seemingly tired of him, teams across the league are desperate to experience even an ounce of his success.

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After years of falling short, Rivers finally won the season’s final game in 2008, when his Celtics defeated the rival Lakers in six games. That season resulted in his only championship to date.

After years of trying to get back to that point, Rivers has just one other NBA Finals appearance on his resume. That came in 2010 when the Celtics and Lakers met again in a battle of the coasts. This time, however, Boston would lose in seven games.

Rivers has a 6-10 record in Game 7.

While the common narrative is that the coach and his teams find a way to fall apart in those situations, Rivers actually maintained a record that hovered around .500 through his first 12 Game 7s. Considering these games are often considered a coin flip, it’s not shocking to see results that reflect that.

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However, given the talent that Rivers’ rosters possessed, it’s hard to not be disappointed in how those teams delivered in win-or-go-home situations.

His recent string of playoff failures — losing five consecutive Game 7s from 2015-2023 — seem to almost suggest a coach that’s seen the game pass him by. With player empowerment, the super team era and the seemingly endless coaching carousel, coaches like Rivers have found themselves relegated to the passenger seat over time.

When coaches are constantly replaced, it’s a wonder how much blame can truly be placed on the one patrolling the sidelines.

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