Doc Rivers has had success as an NBA coach. Three years after he finished his playing career, he became a head coach in 1999. He has won an NBA title throughout his coaching career and has coached his teams to numerous playoffs.
When the LA Clippers lost to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, Rivers made history in a way that he did not think he would.
Doc Rivers had success early on in his coaching career
Rivers’ coaching career began in 1999 when he took over as head coach of the Orlando Magic. In his first year as an NBA head coach, he was named the Coach of the Year in 2000 after the Magic finished with a 41-41 record and almost made the playoffs. The Magic were picked to finish last that season, but Rivers completely changed that. Orlando had a coach that was determined to win, and during his time with the Magic, he helped the team reach the playoffs three consecutive seasons from 2001 to 2003.
After four full seasons with the Magic, they decided to fire him 11 games into the 2003-04 season. The next season he joined the Boston Celtics as the head coach. In his first season with the Celtics, the team made the playoffs after finishing the regular season with a 45-37 record. The Celtics lost in the first round in the playoffs and missed the playoffs the next two seasons.
Doc Rivers winning his first NBA title as a head coach
After missing the playoffs two years in a row, the Celtics made some changes. The team acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who teamed up with Paul Pierce. Boston now had three of the best players in the league and immediately became a favorite to win the 2008 NBA title. Rivers handled the pressure well of having a talented team, and the Celtics finished the 2007-08 season with a 66-16 record and went into the playoffs as the top team.
The Celtics went on to win the 2008 NBA title, and Rivers achieved something that many coaches wanted to do. Boston was the best team in the NBA and had the best coach leading them. The next four years, Boston was one of the top teams in the league. In 2010, Rivers coached Boston back to the NBA Finals, where they took on the LA Lakers in a 2008 NBA Finals rematch. The series went seven games as the Lakers got their revenge winning Game 7 83-79 and winning their second consecutive championship. That was the last time Rivers coached in the NBA Finals.
Doc Rivers making history with the LA Clippers
After nine seasons with the Celtics, Rivers became the head coach of the Clippers. The Clippers needed a coach who had experience winning and leading teams to deep runs in the postseason. Rivers was the right person for the job. In his first two seasons with the Clippers, he led the team to the Conference Semifinals back-to-back seasons, and the Clippers lost both years.
During his time with the Clippers, Rivers has only missed the playoffs once as the team’s head coach. He recently made history when the Clippers lost Game 7 to the Denver Nuggets. Rivers became the only coach to blow numerous 3-1 leads in the playoffs. He did it once with the Magic in 2003 and twice with the Clippers in 2015 and now 2020. That’s a stat Rivers does not want to be proud of. Even though he has a championship under his belt, he has done something no other coaches have done.