Doc Rivers assumes blame for Bucks’ third straight ugly loss vs. Raptors

Milwaukee Bucks coach Doc Rivers is pointing the blame for his team’s struggles on himself.

Milwaukee Bucks coach Doc Rivers saying "It's on me."


Milwaukee Bucks coach Doc Rivers is taking the blame for his team’s recent poor play. Rivers is taking responsibility for his team’s third straight ugly loss, at the hands of the Toronto Raptors.

“The last three were against three bad teams. To me, that’s inexcusable. For all of us,” Rivers said, per The Athletic. “As I told them, this is on me. I gotta figure out what we gotta do to play at a higher pace.”

Milwaukee’s latest struggles

Bucks head coach Doc Rivers and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks on in the fourth quarter© Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Bucks’ three straight losses have come to the Raptors, as well as the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards. The team has been in all three games, but couldn’t make the right plays down the stretch to come up on top. Ultimately, it came down to the team’s inability to get stops.

“I just feel like we’re a lot better than that,” Bucks guard Damian Lillard said.  “We’re a more mature and responsible team than we’ve shown by allowing these games to get to the points that they’ve gotten to and then put ourselves in a dogfight and give it a chance to end this way. But it’s part of the game.” Lillard had 36 points in his team’s losing effort to Toronto.

It’s been a very turbulent ride for the team with Doc Rivers as head coach. Rivers joined the team midseason, and struggled out of the gate. He is only 15-16 as head coach of the Bucks this season, despite the team having one of the best records in the Eastern Conference before he arrived. The Bucks parted ways with Adrian Griffin to bring in Rivers midway through the campaign. The team had a 30-13 record with Griffin.

The team must quickly find the recipe to success before the season falls out of their grasp. The Bucks have lost five of their last six games, with their only win in that stretch against the struggling Atlanta Hawks. The team sits with a 47-30 record in the East. Despite the recent losses, Milwaukee has the second best record in the Eastern Conference, only behind the Boston Celtics.

“It seems like it’s just not bouncing our way right now,” Lillard added. “Sometimes, when you try so hard to turn it around, you end up staying in that rut. It continues to be a battle, but it’s darkest before dawn.
“I think we just gotta keep pushing forward. We know what we’re capable of. We know that this is unacceptable. But it’s not like we can go back and change the game at this point, so we gotta get it together. We gotta push it to where it needs to be before the season is done.”

If Rivers wants to keep his job, he’s going to have to find the right formula. The Bucks took a big gamble when they tossed a coach with a nearly 70% winning percentage, and the gamble hasn’t paid off so far. The team still has plenty of basketball to play, and plenty of chances for Rivers to prove himself.

The Bucks next play the New York Knicks Sunday with a chance to get back on the right track. The game tips off at 7:00 Eastern. The Knicks enter the contest with a 45-32 record.

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