Doc Rivers Struggles in Another Closeout Game: Is it a Trend?
Doc Rivers is no stranger to the NBA playoffs. In fact, he’s been there numerous times. However, as of late, he’s been under the microscope for his struggles in closeout games. It seems like every year, Rivers finds himself in a position to close out a series and advance to the next round, but more often than not, he comes up short. The most recent example of this was in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, when Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets.
Rivers’ struggles in closeout games have not gone unnoticed. In fact, they have become somewhat of a trend. Since becoming a head coach in 1999, Doc Rivers has coached in 27 closeout games. Of those 27 games, he has only won 13. That’s a winning percentage of just under 50%. For a coach who is widely regarded as one of the best in the business, those numbers are concerning.
So, what is the reason behind Rivers’ struggles in closeout games? There are a few possible explanations. First, it could be that Rivers’ coaching style doesn’t translate well to the high-pressure situations of a closeout game. Rivers is known for his calm demeanor on the sidelines, but in a closeout game, emotions can run high. Perhaps Rivers’ laid-back approach is not suited for these types of games.
Another possible explanation is that Rivers’ teams may lack the mental toughness needed to win a closeout game. When a team is up 3-1 in a series, it can be easy to let up and relax a bit. However, in order to win a closeout game, a team must be mentally tough and play with the same sense of urgency that they had earlier in the series. Perhaps Rivers’ teams have struggled with this.
It’s also possible that Rivers’ struggles in closeout games are simply a coincidence. There are numerous factors that go into winning and losing a playoff game, and sometimes it just comes down to luck. However, the fact that Rivers has struggled in so many closeout games over the years suggests that there may be something more to it.
Regardless of the reason behind Rivers’ struggles in closeout games, it’s clear that it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. If Rivers wants to continue to be considered one of the best coaches in the league, he will need to figure out a way to win these types of games. Until then, his legacy will be marred by his inability to close out series and advance in the playoffs.