With the Sixers in danger of becoming the first team ever to lose a series after taking a 3-0 lead, coach Doc Rivers is defending his playoff record, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Rivers, the only coach in NBA history to lose more than one 3-1 advantage, asked reporters to “tell the whole story” about his playoff history.
He pointed out that the Magic team he coached in 2003 was an eighth seed that overachieved by taking the series lead in the first place. He added that Chris Paul was playing with an injury when the 2015 Clippers squandered a 3-1 lead, and L.A.’s 2020 loss took place in the Orlando bubble without the benefit of home court advantage.
“But, it just happens,” Rivers added. “So I would say with me, some of them is … I gotta do better always. I always take my own responsibility. And then some of it is, circumstances happen. This one, let’s win it, and we don’t have to talk about it.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Second-year center Precious Achiuwa has played an important role in helping the Raptors turn the series around, observes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. In his first significant postseason experience, Achiuwa has matched up well with MVP candidate Joel Embiid and has improved steadily throughout the series, according to Smith. “He feels like a more confident, different player to me,” coach Nick Nurse said. “We used to say that a little bit about Serge (Ibaka) back in the old days. All of a sudden Serge became a factor later on in the series when he kind of got used to what was going on out there and stuff.”
- Overcoming a 3-0 deficit may be unprecedented, but Nurse doesn’t see it as impossible, per Lori Ewing of The Toronto Star. The Raptors have survived two elimination games already, and they seem to be embracing the optimism that Nurse has been trying to convey. “Listen, everybody was disappointed about the 3-0 start and it felt a little heavy for a while,” he said. “But when we got back to the film room the next day, I liked the body language, I liked what I was hearing communication-wise and I felt that we were ready to go.”
- Grant Williams had an under-the-radar role in helping the Celtics sweep the Nets, according to Nekias Duncan of Basketball News. Williams took advantage of Brooklyn’s focus on Boston’s stars to average 11.3 points per game while shooting 50% from beyond the arc. He was also part of the group of defenders who held Kevin Durant in check.