For the third consecutive game, the Philadelphia 76ers were without James Harden, which led to their second consecutive loss, this time against the Phoenix Suns.
Among the adjustments the Sixers had to make was slotting Tyrese Maxey as the team’s point guard, which head coach Doc Rivers admitted during his postgame press conference that running the point is not something that Maxey is naturally good at.
“It’s tough, again, because Tyrese is not a natural point guard,” Rivers said, per Jump View’s YouTube channel. “We have him on the floor being that right now because our point guard is hurt. I feel for him at times because he struggles getting us in stuff because it’s not what he does, honestly. I think that affects us a little bit.”
Despite being played out of position, Maxey played quite well against the Suns, putting up 37 points on 14-for-19 shooting from the field, including seven-for-11 from three. At the same time, he dished out only three assists.
While Maxey may not be playing the position he’s used to, times like these could help him grow as a playmaker down the line.
Doc Rivers Praises Furkan Korkmaz
Furkan Korkmaz has not been involved in the Sixers’ rotation much this season, but, in light of some of their rotation players being absent due to injury, Korkmaz has seen more minutes, having played against the Suns and Golden State Warriors.
Rivers praised Korkmaz for his play after the Sixers lost to the Warriors on March 24.
“He was good,” Rivers told reporters, per the Jump View YouTube channel. “Just the one thing he always has, he has a high basketball IQ, and he made great cuts. He actually created a 3 the play before that with this cut. He didn’t get the shot, but it led to a 3, and then the next time, they bit, and went out to the 3-ball, and he cut and got a layup, so I thought he was very comfortable.”
Rivers said that Sixers players have to stay ready no matter what, whether they have a consistent role on the team or not.
“Guys have to stay ready,” Rivers added. “Everybody’s not going to play. We have 17 guys. We’re gonna play nine and that means eight guys, if my Marquette math is correct, they’re not gonna play, but they have to be ready to play, and our guys have been that overall all year. Every guy.”
Joel Embiid Says Doc Rivers Changed Sixers’ Culture
After the Sixers beat the Bulls on March 22, Joel Embiid praised Rivers for the impact he’s had on the team, starting with comparing how the Sixers used to take losses pretty badly before Rivers got there.
“When you look at my first couple of years, some games that we came back this year, there was no way we would have come back,” Embiid said, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We would lose one.”
Embiid then singled out Rivers’ impact on how the Sixers have managed to bounce back.
“To come back and be able to jump a team early, a 20- to 25-point lead, they had no answers,” Embiid said. “That just shows you the growth. Doc and the coaches deserve a lot of credit.