Doc Rivers-led teams seem to always have had a tendency to wilt in 4th quarters. Phil Jackson noticed as much during Game 5 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
With Doc Rivers and the Clippers messing up two 4th quarters vs Nuggets in the ongoing series, there has been quite a bit of criticism around Doc Rivers. Critics feel Doc hasn’t really used his players well in the dying stages of the game, especially someone like Harrell, who has seen a lot of game-time despite being extremely poor on the offensive end.
But this isn’t new for Doc Rivers, as something similar used to happen with him in the 2000s too.
Lakers vs Celtics rivalry in 2000s
The Lakers-Celtics rivalry defined the late 2000s. The two teams met in the NBA Finals twice, with the Celtics winning in 2008 and the Lakers in 2010. Both series were hard fought.
One of them went to 6 games and the latter went to 7. Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers, both former NBA players and with tons of experience on and off the court, had their own mind games going on.
Phil Jackson comments on Doc Rivers-led teams’ propensity to blow 4th quarter leads
In a clip from Game 5 of the 2010 NBA Finals that has started recirculating among fans, we can see how Phil Jackson motivates his Lakers. During a timeout with 46.6 seconds left and the Lakers down 82-87, he can be heard clearly saying how the Celtics have blown the most 4th quarter leads in the NBA.
The Lakers had the best player of the decade on their side at the time in Kobe Bryant. Even though they were down by 5 points, Kobe had knocked in 5 game winners that very season. There was every chance that the Black Mamba could see the game out for them.
The end result did not turn out to be in the Lakers’ favour as they lost 92-86. But Phil Jackson’s mental superiority shines clear in the clip above. The Zen Master could always be counted to keep his team in the best of mental shapes. This is something that head coaches seem to lack in today’s league – the mental dominance.
With Clippers having their backs against the wall now, will Doc Rivers be able to inspire his team to dig deep and dish out a brilliant 4th quarter performance on Tuesday night?