|Yeah Doc, you have to win four games to win the series.|
In the history of the NBA playoffs, there have been just nine occasions where a team has blown a 3-1 series lead. After the Clippers completed their choke against the Rockets yesterday, Doc Rivers has now coached two of those nine clubs (he also led the 2003 Magic squad with Tracy McGrady who said "It feels good to get in the second round" before losing a 3-1 advantage to the Pistons).
Over the course of his coaching career, Rivers is now just 13-23 in postseason closeout games--contests in which his club has the chance to advance to the next round. Coincidence or not, his teams have consistently struggled with losing series leads:
Celtics blew 3-2 series leads in three of four years after the '08 title. The close out game is not Doc's friend.— Rich Levine (@rich_levine) May 17, 2015
Via Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, Rivers said:
We took too long to get over the intoxication of beating the Spurs. I never thought we gave Houston the same focus that we gave the Spurs. Even though we were up 3-1, I never felt that way.
We stepped back instead of going forward.
Once the ball started rolling down the hill, we couldn't stop it.
With their latest defeat, the Clippers still have never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs in their 45 years of existence. Longtime L.A. Laker Magic Johnson was quick to agree with Rivers' assesment and point out the infamous history of his cross-town rivals:
I thought the Spurs taught the Clippers how to win after a tough 7 game series. I was wrong. The Clippers are still the Clippers.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 17, 2015
I have to admit, I never really thought about Rivers' Celtics teams squandering that many series leads. But with the Clippers, it's an inevitable part of the conversation.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan Mark Van Deusen 5/18/2015 12:15:00 PM Tweet Edit