Ex-Celtics Champ Blames James Harden For Doc Rivers’ 76ers Exit

'It was kind of shocking at first'


May 21, 2023

Doc Rivers hasn’t found success ever since he abandoned the Boston Celtics amid their rebuild stage in 2013.

After getting bounced yet again and blowing a series lead for the 10th time in his head coaching career, which sparked some hefty criticism, one former Celtics player is stepping up in defense of Rivers.

Tony Allen, who partook in Boston’s 2008 NBA Finals victory, joined ex-Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett during an installment of SHOWTIME Basketball’s “KG Certified” podcast to discuss his belief in James Harden’s role in Rivers getting fired by the Philadelphia 76ers after three seasons with the organization.

“I just think James Harden pretty much threw him under the bus,” Allen told Garnett. “Yeah, when they asked him that one question (after Game 7). The interview was kind of shaky. Soon as I saw that interview, I was like, ‘Yeah, Doc probably on his way.’ He pretty much tough nose. When you tough nose, a lot of people can’t take that.”

Allen added: “It was kind of shocking at first.”

A bold, but not far-fetched theory to Allen’s credit.

When questioned, Harden was short in words when asked about his relationship with Rivers.

“Our relationship is OK,” Harden told reporters after Philadelphia’s Game 7 loss, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Perhaps with Harden’s impending free agency, plus Joel Embiid coming up short once again to the Celtics in the playoffs, Philadelphia felt as though parting ways with Rivers was for the best in trying to reconnect the locker room moving forward.

Thumbnail photo via Kyle Ross/USA TODAY Sports Images
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