It’s Monday morning and every Sixers fan on the planet is playing the blame game. A season that held so much promise came crashing down once again, with the Atlanta Hawks taking their Game 7 matchup, 103-96, to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals and end Philly’s season.
Ben Simmons is firmly in the crosshairs after a five-point performance in a game the team desperately needed more from him. Simmons proved this series that he might be one of the most athletically gifted players in the NBA, but when it comes to leading a team it’s a little like getting rushed by a yapping chihuahua, albeit a chihuahua that can’t hit free throws either.
While it’s fair for Simmons to be a lightning rod, putting too much attention on him distracts from the elephant in the room: Doc Rivers. The veteran coach is known for blowing leads in the playoffs, and he did it again. Doc chokes so much he should come with a warning, like how you should cut up grapes for a toddler. Sunday night was the latest chapter in his book of choke jobs, and Simmons is merely a footnote when it comes to the coach’s playoff ineptitude.
Doc Rivers has now blown three 3-1 leads, one 3-2 lead, one 2-0 lead, and lost Game 7 at home four times (five if you count the bubble)
— Mike Prada. (PRAY-duh) (@MikePradaNBA) June 21, 2021
Rivers also blew a 3-2 lead in the 2010 NBA Finals. So yes, it’s easy to blame Ben Simmons and turn him into the lightning rod for Game 7, but I’ll be damned if Rivers isn’t the key attached to the kite screaming “take me now, m