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When the Philadelphia 76ers head to Boston for Game 7 against the Celtics on Sunday afternoon, Doc Rivers could potentially be coaching for his job. If the Sixers are able to best Boston, Rivers will almost assuredly keep his job, but a loss will lead to some organizational soul-searching that could beget big changes. 

There have been some rumblings since the start of the season regarding Rivers' future in Philly after consecutive second round exits, and if the Sixers fall in the conference semifinals again, those rumblings are going to reach a fever pitch, at least locally. To say that he's not the most popular guy amongst fans in Philly would be an understatement.   

Rivers was brought to Philly to help the team take the next step after three consecutive playoff defeats under Brett Brown, but to this point, he's been unable to guide the team any further than Brown did -- a seventh game in the second round.

Rivers coached the Sixers to the best record in the East during his first season with the team, but they flamed out in the second round against an inferior Atlanta Hawks team. In fairness to Rivers, the guy who was supposed to be his second-best player, Ben Simmons, suffered a personal collapse of his own throughout the series, and an injury to Danny Green really tested their depth, but it was still a series the Sixers should have won.   

Last season, the Sixers lost in six games to the Miami Heat in the second round, though they were without Joel Embiid for the first two games of the series -- both losses. Had Embiid been available for the entirety of the series, things very well might have turned out differently, but we'll never know now. 

That brings us to the current campaign. The Sixers finished with the third-best record in the conference during the regular season and breezed through a first round matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Now, after a back-and-forth matchup with Boston, Philadelphia is facing a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the third time in the past five years. To this point in the Embiid era, the second round has represented a mountain that the team has been unable to conquer.

So, could another failure cost Rivers his job? Time will tell, but the possibility can't be ignored. It's a results-based business, and if the desired results aren't achieved, ownership could opt to look in a different direction. For what it's worth, every player in the Sixers locker room (save for maybe Furkan Korkmaz, who requested a trade away from the team earlier this season) seems to genuinely enjoy playing for Rivers, and there haven't been any hints of internal turmoil. 

There's also always the question of a replacement. If you fire a coach, you want to make sure that the replacement is an obvious upgrade, especially for a team with long-standing championship aspirations, and those aren't always easy to identify. Sometimes, there's something to be said for continuity when a team is knocking at the door. Also, Rivers still has two years remaining on his current contract. That wouldn't necessarily prevent ownership from moving on, as they parted ways with Brown when he still had time left on his deal, but it's a factor, at least.

There hasn't been any recent indication that the Sixers are poised to make such a move, but this is the NBA, crazier things have happened. The Milwaukee Bucks just fired Mike Budenholzer two years after he led the team to its first title in 50 years. Heading into this playoff run, Rivers didn't seem to be especially concerned with his job security. "I think so. But I don't know," he replied when asked if he had the runway to withstand another early exit from the postseason.

"The same group ... let's say we don't. 'You didn't get past the second round.' You say, 'But no one picked us to get past the second round. Did I underachieve, or overachieve?' It's still got to be about the players and the coach.

"When I took this job, we had just gotten swept the year before," he added. "The first year, we won the East in the regular season. .... Ownership, we get along great. I'm in Philly. Philly's a tough town on coaches. And that's fine. I took the job knowing that. They didn't pick me. I picked them."  

Rivers isn't the only person whose tenure with the Sixers could hinge on the result of Game 7. James Harden's future in Philly could be altered by the outcome, and the same could be said about several other players on the roster. If the team falls short again, it seems extremely unlikely that the front office would run it back with the same squad. But in such situations, the head coach is typically the first domino to fall, and Rivers is well aware of that. 

"[Budenholzer] got fired, being, his team's 69 percent (271-120 overall)," Rivers said earlier during the series with the Celtics. "They won a finals two years ago. It's just part of our jobs. We're the ones that, one, it's easier... That's just the way it is. And you know what's funny? We still sign on to do it. And I love what I do, and we're going to keep signing on. Because it's awesome."

For Rivers and the Sixers, the pressure is on heading into Game 7. Let's see how they respond.