This won’t be the first Game 7 for Doc Rivers. He’s had a few as the head coach of the Clippers, but also a good amount when he coached the Boston Celtics. He even appeared in a few during the 2008 season when he led his team to an NBA championship.
In the first round, the Hawks took the Celtics to seven games. Then in the next round, the Cavaliers took them to seven games as well. Their next two series wins were in six games, but that newly put-together Celtics team faced adversity early in the playoffs, much like this Clippers team already has.
Rivers was asked by the media on Monday if he sees and parallels with this Clippers team and that Celtics team.
“No teams are the same,” Rivers said. “Everybody goes on their own journey. You know, if we end up winning it all this year, this will be a story to tell. It’s just the way it is. It’s funny how often you see that. It’s just the way it is. Every year is different. Every journey is different. We’re here because we put ourselves here.
“You can look at that in a good way or a bad way, but it is what it is. So do I take things from that? I take things from everything we do. I take things from our wins, our losses and all my experiences. This team didn’t have any experiences, and so they’re learning everything right now.”
Rivers said he doesn’t know what to expect tomorrow because this will be the first time this team has played in a Game 7 together. Numerous players on the team have experience in a do-or-die game, but this will be the first time they’ve gone through it as a unit.
“I hope what I learn from our team is that we win Game 7s,” Rivers said. “I don’t know what we’ll learn. You will learn something for sure. And if you get through this, it will definitely serve you well. There’s no doubt about that, because when you go through things like this and adversity and you come out of it on the other end, on the right end of it, it absolutely makes you a better team.”
In a win-or-go-home type of game, you can’t overreact. Rivers said he’s not going to go into practice and draw up 15 new plays the team has never run. He said you can tweak some things, along with spreading out minutes as well.
“You can really hone in on what you’ve done well,” he said. “Like you’ve got to drill it into your guys’ head, this is what we do well, this is what we do well, this is what we do well .And we do that now, but we do get where we’ve gotten away from it. We’ve gotten away from it two games in a row. So we’ve just got to stay disciplined.”
Rivers said the major difference between a Game 7 and any other game is extending and managing minutes. He said that it could be dangerous though because some guys might not be able to hand the extended workload. He says hopefully tomorrow his players will have a single possession mentality, as it’s one of the most important things in a Game 7.