Coach Doc Rivers using Bucks losing to Heat as a lesson for Sixers
CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers appear to have a clear path to the NBA Finals. The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated by the 8-seeded Miami Heat in Round 1 of the playoffs and the Boston Celtics are struggling to put away the Atlanta Hawks.
If the Sixers, who swept the Brooklyn Nets in Round 1, can take care of business against one of the Celtics or the Hawks in the semifinals, then they should make the finals, right? Depending on if Joel Embiid can return from his injury and be close to 100%, they have the talent to get the job done.
Hold your horses now. Coach Doc Rivers wants the Sixers focused on just one thing: the next opponent.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had a viral quote about how tough winning is in this league, but there was something else he said that Rivers wants to point out.
“It (winning) is hard. I just don’t think people get it,” Rivers started. “They think you should just show up, you should win. It’s hard. I liked his other quote, though, but they were looking at winning a title and Miami was looking at beating them and that’s a great message.”
Antetokounmpo admitted that Milwaukee was thinking about winning a championship and the Heat were focused on the task at hand and beating them.
“Just because you have a goal to win something, you can’t forget about the opponent in front of you, and I thought, I don’t know if that was true, but he said it,” said Rivers at practice on Thursday. “It’s clear. Miami had an opponent and what Giannis is just saying is they were thinking about the big picture and they forgot about they gotta beat this team, you know? That happens and it can happen so it takes a lot to win.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo: "They were playing to beat us and we were playing to win a championship….We were a little bit ahead of ourselves, to be honest."
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) April 27, 2023
Much has been made about Philadelphia’s failures to get out of the semifinals. They have fallen in Round 2 in four of the past five seasons and have not made it to the conference finals since 2001. They have a great opportunity to do so right now, depending on Embiid’s health, but Rivers wants the Sixers to not look ahead as the Bucks did with the Heat.
“Every day,” Rivers added. “I’m saying it all year. We are focused on this game tonight. Not the big picture. Everybody else, everyone, will talk about the big picture. I mean, we hear it here all the time. You need to get out of this round, you need to get out of this round, and we’re thinking about the team. The team we’re playing. That’s all we can focus on. That’s it.”
Soon, the Sixers will have an opponent for the semifinals and that team will then be the focus for Rivers and co. on this title quest.
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