MIAMI, FL, Sporting Alert – Veteran coach Doc Rivers is out as the coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.
SHORT OF THE MARK
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the story on Monday before the franchise confirmed the news after Rivers’ team fell well short of the championships expectations, following the defeat to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.
“Doc has been a terrific coach for the Clippers, an incredible ambassador, and a pillar of strength during tumultuous times,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said in a statement Monday.
“He won a heck of a lot of games and laid a foundation for this franchise.”
“I am immeasurably grateful to Doc for his commitment and contributions to the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles,” Ballmer added. “I am also extremely confident in our front office and our players.
“We will find the right coach to lead us forward and help us reach our ultimate goals. We will begin the search and interview process immediately.”
BLOWING TOO MANY BIG LEADS
LA Clippers were genuine title contenders after landing All-Stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard last summer.
However, the dream-run ended prematurely when the team surrendered a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets, include wasting double-digit leads in the last three games of the series.
It was the third time a Rivers-led side surrendered a 3-1 advantage in a playoff series, having watched his 2015 LA Clippers team doing so against the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic in the first round against the Detroit Pistons in 2003.
Rivers is now the only coach in NBA history to lose a 3-1 playoff series lead on three different occasions.
It is believed some of the decisions and play-calls by Rivers were questioned by players during the playoffs and he took the blame for the team’s failure this season.
Rivers, who has 943 career wins, a mark that is 11th most by a head coach all-time, took to Twitter to thank the club. The Clippers had the 5th-best regular-season winning percentage in the NBA since Rivers took over in 2013-14.
He had seven seasons at the helm and went 356-208, winning 63.1% of the Clippers’ regular-season games – the best by any team without a conference finals appearance.
MET SOME, MISSED SOME – GOALS
“Thank you Clipper Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in helping make this a winning franchise,” Rivers said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination, and bring a championship to this organization.
“While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won’t be able to see them all through. Though it was a disappointing ending to our season, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support.
“Thank you to all the players, coaches, and staff for helping us get here. Most importantly, thank you to the fans. We went through a lot, and I am grateful for my time here.”