Philadelphia 76ers

What to Make of Doc Rivers’ Postgame Tirade

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The Sixers managed to squeeze out a 114-109 victory over the Toronto Raptors last night despite facing an extremely undermanned roster. It has become a theme with this Sixers team to allow teams to hang around and they have lost several disappointing games already this season. Following last night’s victory, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, Keith Pompey asked Rivers if he was satisfied with the win which Rivers took issue with question:

Where Rivers is Right

A win is absolutely a win. The Sixers have ended up on the wrong side of multiple close games this season and finding a way to win is the most important thing. Rivers is correct that no teams took it easy on the Sixers when they were shorthanded and that every player in the NBA is extremely talented. The Sixers need to separate themselves from the pack of average teams in the Eastern Conference in the upcoming games as pretenders and contenders become evident and each game is equally important in this regard.

Where Rivers is Wrong

The Raptors played last night’s game without their top three scorers (Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes), multiple other contributors out, and coming off a 45 point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While a win is a win, this is not a squad that should put up a challenge and this must be recognized. This was not a game the Sixers had firm control of considering they were down 109-108 with under a minute to play, and this is even more noteworthy considering the loss to extremely shorthanded Hawks just two games prior.

If Doc Rivers is truly satisfied with last night’s win, he shouldn’t be. At this point, the Sixers are far from a title threat but they should be well capable of beating shorthanded teams. The Raptors are a winnable matchup when they are fully healthy as they are currently in 12th place in the East and finished with a record of just 27-45 last season. The Sixers have lacked the ability to put teams away throughout the season and last night was a prime example of this. A win is important but this is the bigger takeaway as the season continues to progress.

If Rivers truly had an issue with the question, which I don’t believe he should, it is extremely easy to give a boring or scripted answer and move on. Doc should be in control of the press conference and have no trouble simply saying “next question,” if he has nothing more to add on the topic. Getting emotional and continuing to hash it out with Pompey for simply doing his job is far from the right way to go about it. All players and coaches must make sure to ride the highs and the lows of the NBA season and the Raptors win was not one the team should be jumping for joy about.

Slipping in the comment about Keith Pompey not knowing because he hasn’t played basketball enough is also a low blow that Doc Rivers leans on often. While no one is questioning the IQ of a guy who has played and coached for over 35 years, it is the job of a reporter to find a window into why he thinks the way he does. This is especially clear when Joel Embiid and several other players acknowledged that the game was far from their best as well.

Everyone hits a certain breaking point but a question about if he is satisfied with a win should not be where Doc Rivers draws the line. It is far from a “dumbass question,” and is more concerning if Rivers’ biggest takeaway from last night’s game was simply the victory. The Sixers still have a great deal of soul searching to do as they approach the midway point of the season, but Doc Rivers is not excluded from the list of guys who need to look themselves in the mirror.

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Lead Sixers Writer for Philly Sports Network and Co-host of the Pick Swap Podcast. Trust the Process

Twitter: @Sean_Barnard1 and @PickSwapPod


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