Doc Rivers Shakes The Haters, Has Sixers Rolling | Named Eastern Conference Coach Of The Month For January

Philadelphia Sixers head coach Doc Rivers has been to the mountaintop as head coach of the 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics. He’s also been on the losing end of more blown 3-1 series playoff leads than any other coach in NBA history. He’s taken a lot of flak from the media about his recent playoff failures.

Despite the latter, he’s still one of the best coaches in the league and has been for the better part of two decades. And while he’s had plenty of talent to assist him over the years, this season the talent is once again on par with the other Eastern Conference powers in the aforementioned Celtics, Bucks and Nets.

Rivers’ Best Coaching Job Since Orlando?

But this season might be the best coaching job Rivers has done since he led a Grant Hill-less Orlando Magic team with just Tracy McGrady and a bunch of role players to the brink of the playoffs with a 41-41 record. Sitting at 33-17 and a game behind the Bucks for second in the East, Rivers has been pushing all the right buttons despite juggling an erratic roster at times.

Since starting 1-4 and then scraping to 12-12, the Sixers have won 21 of their past 26 games. Following a recent win over the Blazers, in his postgame presser Rivers assessed where his team is compared to how they began the season.

“I think we’re good, and I think we can be really, really good, but there’s work to do, and I think I’m more focused on that, honestly,” coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “You got to keep winning because you want one of those positions. You want to have home court, but I’m more focused on us and just how we’re playing.”

Doc Rivers Named Coach Of The Month

January was extremely good to the Sixers, who enjoyed the best record in the league for the month. Their 5-0 West Coast trip was extremely impressive, considering they overcame a 21-point deficit at the rising Sacramento Kings without stars Joel Embiid and James Harden. That duo is the lifeline to any Sixers title hopes this season, with Embiid an MVP candidate averaging 33.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and nearly five assists per game.


Joel Embiid Still An MVP Candidate

The big Cameroonian has finally decided to play in the paint more, utilizing his great size and strength. Less threes and more paint touches are welcome sight in the City of Brotherly Love.

James Harden is no longer an MVP candidate, but he’s still very good and at times still very dynamic. He’s leading the league in assists at nearly 12 per game, to go along with over 21 points per outing.

But as great as that duo is at times, if Doc wants to taste that elusive second title he’ll need solid play from the likes of his bench and role players. Guys like Tyrese Maxey, George Niang, Shake Milton, DeAnthony Melton, and others.

Maxey is the third piece to a Sixers championship run. Having arguably his best NBA season, when the former Tennessee Vols star plays well Philly usually has success. So, in essence, he’s a barometer for the Sixers

Can Doc Join The Philly Party?

With the Phillies making a surprising run to the World Series and Eagles headed to the Super Bowl, that leaves the Sixers and Flyers as the lone two of the quartet that need to make a run. While that probably won’t happen on the ice anytime soon, on the hardwood the pieces are there, and it’s up to Doc to push the right buttons and lead the way.

He knows what it takes, and winning another would be the culmination of a Hall of Fame career as a head coach.

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