Rivers, 76ers cautious of previous playoff collapses

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Philadelphia 76ers practiced right here Wednesday morning forward of a return to Toronto for Recreation 6 of their Japanese Convention first spherical playoff sequence towards the Raptors Thursday night time, midway to what can be an unprecedented collapse after taking a 3-0 lead on this best-of-seven sequence.

76ers coach Doc Rivers is the one coach to preside over a couple of loss after taking a 3-1 sequence lead – one thing that’s occurred to him 3 times in his profession. However when Rivers was requested about that playoff historical past Wednesday, he stated that there’s a necessity to return and test the document.

“Effectively, it’s straightforward to make use of me for instance,” Rivers stated after the workforce completed observe. “However I want y’all would inform the entire story with me. All proper?

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“My Orlando workforce [in 2003] was the eighth seed. Nobody provides me credit score for getting up towards the [Detroit] Pistons who gained the title. That was an eighth seed. I would like you to return and have a look at that roster. I dare you to return and have a look at that roster. And you’d say, ‘What a hell of a training job.’ Actually.

“I imply, the Clipper workforce [in 2015] that we misplaced 3-1, Chris Paul didn’t play the primary two video games, and was taking part in on one leg, and we didn’t have house court docket. After which the final one [when the Clippers lost to the Denver Nuggets in 2020], to me, is the one we blew. That’s the one I took. We blew that. And that was within the bubble. And something can occur within the bubble. There’s no house court docket. Recreation seven would have been in LA.

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“However, it simply occurs. So I might say with me, a few of them is … I gotta do higher all the time. I all the time take my very own accountability. After which a few of it’s, circumstances occur. This one, let’s win it, and we don’t have to speak about it.”

In 2003, Rivers and the Orlando Magic – led by future Corridor of Famer Tracy McGrady, who gained the scoring title that season – took that 3-1 lead on the top-seeded Pistons. Famously, McGrady – who by no means made it out of the primary spherical of the playoffs in his profession – stated after successful Recreation 4 to take that 3-1 lead, “It feels good to get within the second spherical.”

Detroit promptly gained the subsequent three video games by a mixed 61 factors to truly transfer onto the second spherical, and ultimately lose to the New Jersey Nets within the Japanese Convention finals earlier than occurring to win an NBA title the next season.

In 2015, Rivers took that 3-1 lead on, coincidently, present 76ers star level guard James Harden and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, each of whom had been then with the Houston Rockets, solely to lose the ultimate three video games of that sequence. That included a shocking collapse at house in Recreation 6, when Houston outscored the Clippers 40-15 (largely with Harden watching from the bench) to show what was a 13-point deficit in the beginning of the quarter right into a 12-point victory, earlier than closing out the sequence in Recreation 7.

As Rivers stated, although, the loss in 2020 is probably the most memorable one. The Clippers – led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, whom they’d acquired the prior summer season, and had been the choose by many to win the championship – took a 3-1 lead on the Nuggets, solely to blow double-digit leads in every of the ultimate three video games of the sequence to be despatched house from the NBA’s bubble on the Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Fla. in really surprising vogue.

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Proper now, although, the 76ers are simply attempting to keep away from including to their already tough historical past. Simply final 12 months, the 76ers blew a 26-point lead in Recreation 5 of the Japanese Convention semifinal sequence to the Atlanta Hawks – earlier than once more dropping on their house court docket in Recreation 7 within the sport the place Ben Simmons handed up an open dunk late within the fourth quarter, starting his path to leaving Philadelphia for good.

Thus far on this sequence, the 76ers routed Toronto within the opening two video games, snuck out an time beyond regulation victory behind Joel Embiid‘s heroics in Recreation 3, then noticed the Raptors kind of management each Recreation 4 and 5. Rivers stated it may be arduous for a workforce to shut out one other workforce, however that after the best way the sequence has shook out, each groups know what they need to do so as to win Recreation 6.

“Being up 3-0, particularly 3-0, I might say that [teams feel differently],” Rivers stated. “A variety of groups don’t win these video games. The Celtics are the one one which gained that sport [within the first spherical of this 12 months’s playoffs. Everybody else misplaced that sport.

“From a training standpoint, you hate that, since you really feel like, ‘Let’s simply care for it.’ You then get to Recreation 5 the opposite night time they usually performed higher. We didn’t play properly. We didn’t play with a way of urgency. So clearly now, I believe each groups have sort of served discover and each groups have the opposite workforce’s consideration.

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“For those who don’t have that, then we’re all in hassle.”

When requested what it is going to take to make issues go in another way in Recreation 6, Rivers pointed to the tempo at which the 76ers performed – notably offensively – within the first two video games, and that Philadelphia might want to get again to that if it desires to shut Toronto out, and keep away from returning for a do-or-die Recreation 7 Saturday night time.

“Effectively I nonetheless suppose the primary factor is 63% of the time we took the ball out of bounds final sport,” Rivers stated. “So which means 37% of the time you’re simply bringing the ball up after a made basket or free throw or one thing. So clearly that needs to be higher.

“We now have to get extra stops, as a result of they don’t run … they run after they can, however after they don’t, they use the clock to 22 seconds. So then the sport is a gradual paced sport and a half court docket sport. So the 2 issues, primary, we acquired to get extra stops, quantity two once we get stops and even on scores, we acquired to play at a greater tempo. We’re strolling the ball up the court docket.”