Sixers fire Doc Rivers after playoff exit in Eastern Conference semifinals

 Following yet another disappointing early exit from the NBA playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers fired coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak before the team made an announcement.

In three seasons under Rivers, the Sixers have posted a 154-82 record (.653) and finished either first or second in their division. However, they have been unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs in any of the past six seasons.

The Sixers confirmed the firing later Tuesday morning.

"Doc is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, a future Hall of Famer, and someone I respect immensely," Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said in a news release. "We’re grateful for all he did in his three seasons here and thank him for the important impact he made on our franchise. After having the chance to reflect upon our season, we decided that certain changes are necessary to further our goals of competing for a championship."

Sixers coach Doc Rivers yells instructions to his team during Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the Celtics.

This season looked like the Sixers' best chance for a deep playoff run. With center Joel Embiid winning league MVP honors and shooting guard James Harden playing in his first full season with Philadelphia, the team posted the third-best regular season record in the league.

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However, after defeating the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs and going up three games to two on the Boston Celtics, the Sixers reverted to their old form.

They unraveled in the fourth quarter to lose Game 6 at home, then had no answer for the Celtics' Jayson Tatum and his record-breaking 51 points in Game 7.

The loss dropped Rivers' record as a head coach in Game 7s to 6-10.

Overall, Rivers has a 1097-763 record (.590) in 24 seasons with the Orlando Magic, Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Sixers.

This leaves three premier coaching openings: Milwaukee (Giannis Antetokounmpo), Phoenix (Devin Booker, Kevin Durant) and Philadelphia (Embiid). Morey inherited Rivers as Philadelphia's coach when took over basketball operations, and this gives him a chance to make his own hire.

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