It’s good being the No. 1 seed. The Philadelphia 76ers get to sit at home on the couch and watch everyone else beat up on each other. For head coach Doc Rivers, he’ll do it with a heaping plate of pasta in front of his scouting notebook.
“I’m going to have pasta from Saloon in front of me. I’m going to have steak from Steak 48 in front of me, and if I can reach over the food to my notebook, yeah, I’ll do that [take notes] as well,” Rivers joked, referencing two famed Philadelphia restaurants. “It’s something you want to watch [the play-in tournament]. I look forward to it. The best part of the playoffs is when you’re not playing.”
The Sixers will host a first-round playoff game at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday (May 23) against the winner of the play-in tournament. That could be one of four teams: the Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, or Washington Wizards. The Hornets battle the Pacers tonight at 6:30 p.m. followed by the Celtics vs. Wizards at 9 p.m. The winners play for the right to advance and face the Sixers on Thursday at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia hit the practice floor on Tuesday to get some individual work in. The team focused mainly on shooting and correcting mental lapses with their transition defense. Everyone was available for practice, including Matisse Thybulle who missed the last four games of the regular season with a hand injury.
“Everybody practiced and everybody was good,” Rivers said. “We have our own rhythm. We’ll go hard a couple of days, light, probably hard, and then on Saturday it’ll probably be more of a shootaround focus.”
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Tobias Harris Comments on Play-in Tournament
Many players have been pretty open about their disdain for the NBA’s new play-in tournament. LeBron James famously said whoever came up with it “needs to be fired.” On Tuesday, Sixers star Tobias Harris added his own candid opinion.
“I’m a fan because we aren’t in it,” Harris joked. “This amount of days to be able to rest, put work in … but I think it brings excitement, I guess, to the league, to the fans. I think this play-in tournament has really good competition if you look at who’s in it. It’s going to be good basketball games. But if we were in it … I don’t know, I’d give you a different answer there.”
Harris and the Sixers will have had a full week off before their first playoff game, thanks to that play-in tournament. Sixers players, much like their head coach, will be sitting on the couch enjoying the action.
“I’m going to sit on my couch and watch it. That’s the plan,” Harris said. “No watch party or anything. May the best man win and then come see us.”
Seth Curry Has Lingering COVID-19 Effects
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has talked about having to use an inhaler since testing positive for COVID-19. He contracted the novel coronavirus back in January and still has a few lingering side effects like getting winded. Sixers guard Seth Curry tested positive around the same time and confirmed he’s dealt with similar issues. He also uses an inhaler to help open up his lungs.
“It’s hard to explain. I feel a little bit differently as a whole, just the way I breathe at times, a little bit fatigued,” Curry said. “But pretty much healthy, coming back, and just trying to work through it. Being patient with myself, hopefully, get back to all the way I was feeling before.”
The veteran shooter was also recovering from an ankle injury late in the season. He averaged 12.5 points while shooting 45% from deep in 57 games this season. Curry came over in a trade from the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason.
“I’m good enough to go,” Curry said. “I’ll be out on the floor, that’s the good part.”