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#pounditTuesday, January 31, 2023

Video: Doc Rivers called out reporter for ‘dumba–’ question

Doc Rivers being interviewed

Doc Rivers went full Red Forman mode on a local reporter this week.

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday by a five-point final margin (114-109). Toronto had seven players out thanks to health and safety protocols and were missing several others due to various injury, conditioning, and personal reasons.

After the game, Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer asked Rivers, the Sixers coach, if he was concerned that they only beat a shorthanded team by five.

“No,” replied an irked Rivers. “It’s funny, when we were undermanned and we won a couple games and we had close games that we lost, I didn’t hear that in reverse. This is the NBA, Keith. Think about that stretch when we had all those guys out and we lost four and five games by one point, three points. Do you think their coach was worried that they won by one or three points? These guys play hard, man. This is the NBA. Every single guy in this league can play.

“So I don’t sit back and judge like ‘Well we didn’t win by ten tonight or 12 tonight,'” added Rivers. “That locker room in there? They’re happy. They’re not sitting back thinking, ‘Man we should have won by 20.’ No you shouldn’t have. You should have won exactly by what you won by.”

When Pompey replied that it seemed like Rivers was getting emotional with his response, Rivers took it up another notch.

“I’m just miffed by that question,” he said. “That question tells me, clearly you didn’t play enough. You gotta understand that. If you win a game, Keith, you’re happy … My point is Keith, it’s a dumba– question. To me … I don’t care. We won the game. I just think it’s a silly question. I really do. We won a game and you’re trying to take steam away from it? That’s silly.”

Here is the video of the exchange (but beware of the profanity).

It is easy to see where Rivers is coming from. A win is a win, whether it is by one point or 50 points. In the grind of an 82-game season, teams will not always be on their A-game, so the good ones need to find ways to win ugly. That is exactly what the Sixers did on Tuesday, despite themselves being without three rotation guys in Danny Green, Shake Milton, and Andre Drummond (not to mention Ben Simmons’ continued absence).

Rivers also makes a good point about the elite talent level in the NBA. Every single player, even down to the 15th man on the bench, can play, otherwise they would not be in the league. With so many players being called up lately as replacements as well, opposing teams often do not have time to scout the guys that they are facing on any given night.

There are certainly legitimate reasons to criticize Rivers with the Sixers just over .500 on the year. But criticizing him for leading his team to victory on Tuesday probably should not be one of them.

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