Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, center, watches from the bench as the 76ers trail the Boston Celtics during the second half of Game 7 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, Sunday, May 14, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Philadelphia 76ers have fired head coach Doc Rivers after their exit from the NBA playoffs at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

The 76ers’ President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said the decision came after a review of the season.

“Doc is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, a future Hall of Famer, and someone I respect immensely. We’re grateful for all he did in his three seasons here and thank him for the important impact he made on our franchise.

“After having the chance to reflect upon our season, we decided that certain changes are necessary to further our goals of competing for a championship,”

He said.

Rivers’ departure comes after the 112-88 loss to the Celtics in game seven of the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Sunday.

It was the third straight season that Philadelphia were eliminated a game short of the conference finals and it was their sixth straight season of reaching the post-season but failing to get past the second round. The 76ers haven’t reached the conference finals since 2001.

Rivers fell to 6-10 in game sevens as a coach – the most game seven defeats of any NBA coach in history and he remains without a game-seven win on the road in his coaching career.

Hopes were high for a championship this season given the form of Joel Embiid, the league’s Most Valuable Player this season.

Embiid praised Rivers after Sunday’s defeat saying:

“He’s been a great leader for all of us, a great motivator.”

Rivers joined the 76ers in 2020 after spells with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Celtics and the Orlando Magic.

The coach, who has enjoyed 16 straight winning seasons, had 154-82 (.653) record in his three seasons in Philadelphia.

Rivers won the NBA championship with the Celtics in 2008 and led them to the NBA Finals again in 2010.

His last appearances in a conference final was in 2012 with Boston, losing to eventual champions the Miami Heat.

Rivers becomes the third coach to reach the post-season this year and then lose their job.

The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Mike Budenholzer after a first round exit to the Heat while the Phoenix Suns dismissed Monty Williams after their second round loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Source: AFP

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