Despite not having star Ben Simmons on the court at the start of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers own the top spot in the Eastern Conference with an 8-2 record. With a 114-105 victory against the Chicago Bulls on the road, the 76ers have won six straight, and more importantly, head coach Doc Rivers made history on Saturday.
The Philadelphia 76ers Have Found Success Despite Missing Key Players
Coach Doc Rivers who was once reluctant to coach became just the tenth coach to reach the 1,000 career win mark. With less than six minutes to go in the game, the Bulls led 97-96 as Zach Lavine put an end to a 10-0 run with a three-pointer, but Joel Embid made a shot from behind the arc moments later and the 76ers never trailed for the rest of the game.
Lavine had 32 points and nine rebounds, while his teammate Demar DeRozan had 25 points. However, the 76ers were able to match both scoring efforts as Embid led the 76ers with 30 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks. Furkan Korkmaz led the limited three-man second unit that was dealing with numerous injuries with 25 points, and 7-9 from the three-point range in 32 minutes of playing time as they beat the Bulls for the second time in the span of a week.
With the injuries the team has been dealing with this season, the 76ers have showcased team success as seven players in the rotation have a usage rate above twenty percent. Seth Curry who is shooting fifty percent from downtown only has a usage rate of 16.7 percent. His output has exceeded expectations as he is averaging 17.1 PPG which is a career-high through ten games this season.
Doc Rivers’ Becomes the 10th Coach to Reach the 1,000 Career Win Milestone
Doc Rivers has had a successful coaching career and has no plan of giving up any time soon. Rivers was unaware at the time as he became one of six coaches to reach the 1,000 career win milestone as he mentioned to reporters,“I don’t count. That’s not why I do it and this win being shorthanded, being in Chicago means a lot … and it also means I’m very lucky.”
He had the opportunity to coach for some great teams along the way over his 23 year career as he coached for four organizations which includes the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, and currently the Philadelphia 76ers. He is most notably known for his time with the Boston Celtics as he had a pair of 60 win seasons which includes championship in 2008.
Before he was let go by the Los Angeles Clippers, he turned the organization into a perennial Western Conference contender as the franchise has also been overshadowed by the Los Angeles Lakers success. On top of that, the teams that Rivers has coached over the years have qualified for the playoffs on twenty different occasions.
Doc Rivers joins elite company among active coaches as San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has 1,313 career wins, and is very close to shattering the all-time wins leader which is held by Don Nelson who has 1,335 wins. If the 76ers continue their march for this and the following season, assuming that Rivers is still coaching, he will have the opportunity to break Larry Brown’s 1,098 regular-season wins which is good for eighth all-time. He is just 43 behind from passing Rick Adelman’s 1,042 win career.
Despite the ups and downs which started in the offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers and Doc Rivers look to make it back to the playoffs after a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinal last season. But before thinking about the playoffs, the 76ers will be taking on the New York Knicks on Monday which marks the beginning of a three-game homestand.