CAMDEN, NJ–As the Philadelphia 76ers prepare to board a plane and head back to Canada to take on the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of this Round 1 series, doubts are beginning to creep in about whether the Sixers can actually win this series.
No team in NBA playoff history has ever blown a 3-0 lead in a series and lost and only three teams have even rallied to force a Game 7. The last team to do that was the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers against the Dallas Mavericks.
Coach Doc Rivers has coached teams that have been up 3-1 and gone on to blow leads. One team was the No. 8 seed Orlando Magic in 2003 going up against the No. 1 seed Detroit Pistons. The Magic were led by superstar Tracy McGrady, but not much else so it’s not too surprising.
“It’s easy to use me as an example, but I wish y’all would tell the whole story with me,” said Rivers at practice on Wednesday. “My Orlando team was the 8 seed. No one gives me credit for getting up against the Pistons who won the title. That was an 8 seed. I want you to go back and look at that roster. I dare you to go back and look at that roster and you wouldn’t say ‘What a hell of a coaching job’. Really.”
Then there was the 2015 Los Angeles Clippers. That team led 3-1 against James Harden and the Houston Rockets, but Houston rallied to win that series as well. In Rivers’ defense, Chris Paul was playing injured with a leg injury.
The 2020 Clippers team also blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.
“The Clipper team that we lost 3-1,” Rivers continued. “Chris Paul didn’t play in the first two games and was playing on one leg and we didn’t have home court. The last one, to me, is the one we blew. That’s the one I sat we blew that and that was in the bubble and anything could happen in the bubble. There’s no home court. Game 7 would have been in LA, but it just happens.”
Rivers builds a good defense, but at the end of the day, the point is that his teams have blown those leads. If Philadelphia can’t recover and win either Game 6 or Game 7, then he and the Sixers will go down in infamy.
“I would say with me, some of them is I got to do better always,” Rivers finished. “Always take my own responsibility. Then some of it is circumstances happen. This one, let’s win it and we won’t have to talk about it.”
This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!