Doc Rivers always seems to get a pass. He can yell and complain about the refs, but his frustratingly savvy veteran team almost always pulls out the win so people tend to give him the benefit of a few mistakes. That wasn't the case in Game Two, when the Sixers beat the Celtics by a single point in Boston, evening the series up at 1-1. Doc himself was responsible for a questionable decision to foul late in the game.
A big issue was the fact that the Celtics weren't hitting shots (we can sympathize!) but once the Sixers took a 1-point lead on an AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME Evan Turner drive and Ray Allen's jumper clanked off, Rivers instructed Rajon Rondo to foul Turner with 14.4 seconds left. The shot clock had 10 seconds remaining at the time. They could have played the rest of the possession out and had a chance at a look with 4ish ticks left. Doc decided to foul. Why?
"Obviously, if they didn’t have a foul to give we would’ve played the clock out," Rivers said. "My thinking was, it would be a four-second differential. There’s no guarantee you’re going to get the rebound. By the time you rebound it’s probably three seconds, and then they have the foul to give, so they foul and now it’s down to two seconds."
The bigger issue was: if you're going to foul, why not do it earlier in the shot clock? Why wait until 14 seconds had already gone by before making the decision?
That’s the mistake we made.
You can stuff your veteran savvy in a sack! Poor decision-making from Rivers after Rondo showed some impressive awareness at the end of Game One. Evenness and symmetry so far. Also ugliness. Tons of ugliness.