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Doc Rivers gets burned as Bucks crash and burn against Heat in merciless defeat


Fans skewer Doc Rivers after 123-97 home loss vs. Heat

A day after the Milwaukee Bucks appeared to experience a major breakthrough in their dominant win over the Denver Nuggets, they are dealt a harsh reality check from the Miami Heat. The team did not hold a lead at any point and was trounced on its home floor, losing 123-97. Fans directed their criticism and mockery towards one person in particular- Doc Rivers.

The Bucks are now 3-6 since the 2008 NBA champion took over as head coach. Replacing Adrian Griffin with Rivers last month was a controversial decision considering they were 30-13 at the time, but one could see that there were issues. Tightening up defense and the on-court chemistry between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard was of paramount importance.

Those concerns still remain in the early portion of Rivers’ reign, especially after Miami’s Duncan Robinson and Nikola Jovic combined for 47 points while Kevin Love took a big swig from the Fountain of Youth (19 points, eight rebounds and two steals). The backlash was brutal and came from all different fan bases. “Doc Rivers must be the worst coach in NBA history,” ApexSeidon posted on X.

Fans are prone to overreactions, as is evidenced by how the Los Angeles Clippers’ rough start was perceived. But being decimated in the Fiserv Forum by a Heat squad that was missing its best player in Jimmy Butler and two key contributors like Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson is admittedly worrisome. Antetokounmpo nearly recorded a triple-double, but he did not receive sufficient support on either offense or defense.

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It is crucial that Milwaukee figures out how to consistently beat formidable opponents before the playoffs begin. If the franchise suffers another early-round exit, then management’s decision to hire Doc Rivers midway through the season will be endlessly scrutinized. The 2021 championship might not be enough to prevent a dysfunction label from being slapped on the organization.

There is plenty of time for Rivers and the Bucks to figure things out, though. Their 35-20 record gives them a nice cushion to work out the remaining kinks. Thursday’s matchup against the 18-36 Memphis Grizzlies is a prime bounce-back opportunity.


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