Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers had a powerful message for his team heading into Game 2. Stay the course. Keep your focus. Nothing meaningful ever came easy.
The Sixers watched film on Monday and then participated in a light practice on Tuesday prior to their rematch with the Atlanta Hawks. The top seed in the Eastern Conference finds themselves down 1-0 in their best-of-seven playoff series. They know what they have to do and it starts on the defensive end. The Sixers finished the regular season with the second-best defensive rating in the NBA.
“Just being solid, knowing what the gameplan is, sticking to the gameplan, and doing what we do,” rookie guard Tyrese Maxey said when asked about making adjustments. “We’re a defensive team and we know how to do certain rotations, certain things, certain adjustments on the fly, and we just gotta go out there and execute.”
Maxey also shared what Rivers’ overriding message to the team was coming off their 128-124 loss in Game 1. They know the Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the league — 31-12 record since March 1 — and Trae Young is a human flame thrower (30.2 points per game in six postseason games). It’s not going to be easy. And it shouldn’t be.
“They are playing at a very, very, very great level right now, a very, very high level right now, kudos to them,” Maxey said. “And they’ve put it together and they’ve figured it out. So it’s our job to go out there and stop them. Coach Doc was saying the other day, that if it was easy you wouldn’t want it. It wouldn’t be good if it was easy and I think that’s what we’re going to go off of right now.”
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Joel Embiid Listed Questionable for Game 2
Sixers big man Joel Embiid is still dealing with a torn meniscus in his right knee and hit the injury report as questionable. He’ll be a game-time decision for Game 2 as the team will make a judgment call following shootaround tonight. The decision to start Embiid in Game 1 came about one hour prior to tip-off.
“Playing on a torn meniscus is not easy but all I can do is keep managing it and do my best,” Embiid said after Game 1. “Get as much treatment as I can, try to manage it to make sure it doesn’t swell up too much. Obviously, the pain is going to be there, that’s normal. I’m going to give everything I got.”
Finalist for NBA Cares Community Assist Award
Sixers guard George Hill was one of five recipients to win the award last year when he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Other nominees for 2021 include Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, Donovan Mitchell, Russell Westbrook, Josh Richardson, Patty Mills, DeAndre’ Bembrey, Larry Nance Jr.