The Philadelphia 76ers may be without Ben Simmons throughout the NBA Playoffs, that doesn’t mean their mindset has changed.
“To be honest, we don’t care about anybody else’s opinion but ours,” 76ers forward, Tobias Harris said during Philly’s Zoom call media availability.
“We’re confident internally in our group. We know what we bring to the table and we expect a lot from one another. At the end of the day, we’re just focused on us. Everybody can have noise coming from any different parts, but at the end of the day it‘s all about what we do in our locker room and that’s what we focus on.”
The coronavirus pandemic halted NBA play on March 11 and the league resumed play on July 30 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
22 NBA teams competed to fill the league’s 16-NBA playoff spots in both the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conferences with the NBA Finals expected to finish no later than October 13.
The Sixers are without Ben Simmons due to his season-ending knee. Some believe that his injury puts the 76ers at a serious disadvantage against the Celtics in the first round.
Tobias Harris sees it differently. “First, our depth. On top of that, everybody coming together,” he said.
“We got a great vibe to how we’ve been playing. The competitiveness, our focus is there, and our talent. Our talent level is still at an all-time high on this team and we’re ready. As a unit coming down here to Orlando, this is our goal to get into the playoffs and do what we have to do and we’re excited about that.”
Led by the Harris and Joel Embiid, the 76ers completed their season with a 43-30 record and a sixth place finish in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings.
At the beginning of the NBA season, many experts like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and NBA Hall of Famer turned TNT analyst pegged the Sixers as a preseason favorite to make a trip to the 2020 NBA Finals.
Then along came the Milwaukee Bucks who completed their season with a first place finish in the Eastern Conference with a 56-17 record and MVP season from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Don’t forget the reigning NBA Champs the Toronto Raptors who finished in second place with a 53-19 record and the Celtics, the team they’ll play on Monday in a best of seven NBA Playoffs series who finished in third place with a 48-24 record.
The Celtics have a trio of talent in Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. Back in the winter, Jaylen Brown told me he doesn’t allow pressure to get to him “A lot of the times people put expectations on Boston and the media,” said Brown. “Don’t mind none of that, just keep playing basketball, have fun and get better. Things will start to come into your wheelhouse.”
Brown believed then which appears more than evident with the NBA Playoffs slated to begin on Monday that pressure means nothing and the production must be there which is why while many were expecting much of the Sixers and the Bucks since the preseason, the Celtics kept their eyes on the prize; perhaps even being overlooked. “I wouldn’t say that we’re overlooked,” Brown told me.
“I wouldn’t even say we’re under-looked, I just say we play basketball. Always focused on what’s in front of us, it’s a long season.”
Game 1 between the Sixers and Celtics begins on Monday.