“They Know How to Lose in the 4th Quarter”: Throwback Video Shows Phil Jackson Criticizing Doc Rivers’ Team for Tanking

Published 09/15/2020, 10:27 AM EDT
Sep 7, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) celebrates with forward Montrezl Harrell (left) and guard Patrick Beverley (21) and head coach Doc Rivers after defeating the Denver Nuggets in game three of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


The Los Angeles Clippers are on everybody’s critical radar. The second-seeded title favorites let a 3-1 lead slip away from their hands. They have blown away two opportunities to finish the job so far, and now stand at a 3-3 tie against the Denver Nuggets.

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This is a team that was predicted to make it to the Western Conference Finals and even give a hard time to the Lakers. However, this seems way out of the question now, and the coach Doc Rivers is under tremendous pressure to not let history repeat itself.

Is Doc Rivers doing something wrong?

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Aug 17, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers reacts in the first half against the Dallas Mavericks in game one of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports | Courtesy Reuters

Historically, the Clippers have not done well under pressure. If that remains the case, then they won’t stand a chance against the Lakers. Talking about history, losing a 3-1 lead seems to be a force of habit for the Clippers. They had lost it previously in 2015 to the Houston Rockets.

What’s worse is they always start off great and dominate the first half, but by the time they enter the second half, the Clippers become a mess. Despite their key player, Kawhi Leonard, scoring more than 25 points in almost every game, it has not been enough. And Doc Rivers seems to be the person to blame. This is because, before the Clippers, the Boston Celtics faced a similar fate in 2010 when Rivers was their coach.

During the 2010 NBA Finals, the Celtics gave up their 3-1 lead against the Lakers who eventually won the Championship. A video from that time has resurfaced in which Phil Jackson is seen telling the Lakers that the Celtics easily blow up their lead. “This team has lost more games in the fourth quarter than anybody in the NBA. They know how to lose in the fourth quarter,” Jackson said in the fifth game of that series.

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Can the Clippers turn it around for themselves?

There is nobody else to blame but the team itself. They have been losing to a team that has a much weaker roster than them. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have been unstoppable and their resilience is the reason the Nuggets are ready to enter Game 7.

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But conversely, the Clippers have one of the two best wing defenders. There is no way the Nuggets have a chance if they get their act together. Thus, hopefully, the Clippers won’t let it come to a point where they don’t face the Lakers.

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Yashima Bhatia

1122 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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