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Rivers, Van Gundy don't want defeated coaches fired

May 17, 2010, 7:32 PM EDT

Many of the teams in the NBA playoffs this season carried the burden of high expectations. Owners, executives, and fans all have high hopes when their favorite team goes into the playoffs with a real shot at getting to the finals or even winning the whole thing. When the team succeeds, it’s great. When they don’t, the weight of those expectations inevitably comes crashing down on somebody. In today’s NBA, that somebody is more often than not the coach. Mike Woodson of the Atlanta Hawks was a already fired after his team was swept by the Orlando Magic, and Mike Brown doesn’t appear to be long for a job after his team lost to the Boston Celtics. 

According to Tim Potvak of FanHouse, the coaches who knocked Woodson and Brown out of the playoffs don’t think it’s right that they lost their jobs because they lost. When speaking to media about the firings before game one, Rivers made it clear he didn’t like that coaches have to start looking over their shoulder every time they lose a playoff series, saying “”It says either Stan, or I, had better be looking for a new address after this series…Actually, it’s sad. Look at what Mike did in Atlanta, where he took that team from when he took over to where it is now. And look at Mike’s record in Cleveland. It’s unfortunate.”
Stan Van Gundy focused on just how quickly the public can turn on a head coach when he spoke to the media: 
“It’s amazing how you can go from smart to dumb in 6-7 days,” Van Gundy said. “Mike Woodson was pretty smart, then seven days later he was an idiot. Mike Brown won 70 percent of his games, and all of a sudden, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s amazing.”

The old belief that players win games and coaches lose them looks to be alive and well in today’s NBA. A coach can have all the success in the world in the regular season, but often all it takes is one bad week to send an NBA coach from the sideline to the studio. 

  1. MattC - May 18, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    I feel what they’re saying, I really do, but let’s face it, nobody has been anointing Brown or especially Woodson mastermind coaches, Brown’s coach of the year award notwithstanding. It is a lot of pressure and arguably unfair that one playoff series can make or break your career with a team, but hey, as they say, that’s just the nature of the beast.
    The Cavs have regressed under Brown in the playoffs as the pressure has grown. They were arguably a much better playoff team with much less talent a few years ago when the expectations were lower and their regular season wasn’t as strong. Can’t say I know as much about the Woodson situation other than that team looked totally unprepared for the playoffs.

  2. SFWA - May 18, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Good comments MattC. I agree…neither of these 2 guys is a star on the rise anymore. They’ve had their opportunities and they fell short of the big prize. Do they suck at coaching? No. Are they Phil Jackson or Jerry Sloan or even Doc Rivers? No! Life goes on and so will theirs.

  3. Jmitch13 - May 18, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    I’ve been a major critic of Mike Brown for a while and while i respect him as a person and a defensive coach, its clear to see he struggles offensively. When watching a clevland game its clear to see a stagnant offensive in crunch time and they play way to slow. Clevaland needs a coach that will push the ball and put the ball in key players such as Willaims, West, Jamison, and even Parker at crunch time. Browns offense depended on James to do everything, this methods will win 67 games but not championships. As for Mike Woodson its clear to see that orlando was just a bad matchup for orlando if you look at the regular season record and scores thats clear and not to mention that Joe Johnson is not the superstar everyone says he is. I like Joe but not a top tier player.

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