Doc Rivers lists what went wrong in Game 2, confident Sixers bounce back

CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers return home in the Eastern Conference semifinal with the Boston Celtics in a 1-1 split. They earned one impressive Game 1 win thanks to the heroics of James Harden, but they had a tough night in Game 2 in the return of Joel Embiid from injury.

The Celtics shot 20-for-51 from deep compared to just 6-for-30 for Philadelphia and Boston was the more physical team. Boston’s guards were pressuring guys like Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and others all night long and the Sixers really couldn’t get into any sets.

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With that being said, the issues are correctable and they now own home-court advantage so they are in a very good spot with this series shifting to South Philly. As the team got back to work on Thursday, coach Doc Rivers listed what went wrong in his eyes and he’s confident that the Sixers will bounce back.

Rivers on Philadelphia's lack of offensive spacing

“Transition—spacing’s simple when you think about it. There should be two guys, one guy in each corner, one guy free-throw line extended, one guy with the ball in the middle, and another big or somebody coming down the floor. We didn’t do that at all. We played with three guys on one side of the floor most of the night. It’s almost lazy in some ways. We just didn’t space. I think their pressure probably created some of that so we’ll be better.”

Rivers on the defensive struggles


“When you watch the game, they did everything they wanted to do offensively. We didn’t supply a lot of pressure at all. We weren’t into the ball. They moved the ball. Today, I said ‘Guys, it looked like a couple possessions, they were in shootaround’ and they were just playing with nobody in front of them, no resistance. We’ll do that better, but they didn’t allow us to do that. So if you’re gonna have one team in your air space and not allowing you to move, deflecting, and grabbing and holding, and you on the other end, allow them to move, it’s gonna be a mismatch and that’s what it was.”

On if he's surprised by the Game 2 effort

“I’m never surprised by our game. Listen, the team that won the first game on the road had lost 15 in a row in the second game. Human nature happens. I actually liked our odds. I figured 15 in a row, let’s be the team to break that and we didn’t and you can see it. It’s a natural—one of the greatest college coaches who I talk to all the time last night, he’s like ‘Man, human nature’s a mother’. It just is. No matter how much you fight it, it is. Having said that, now it’s even and both teams believe they can win this series so let’s get it on. That’s gotta be our mindset.”

On if the return of Embiid had the Sixers too amped up


“I don’t know. Joel hadn’t played in a week, he won MVP, we’re on the road, we beat them the first game. They clearly weren’t going to allow us to play the way we played in the first game. It was all that combined. We just lost the game. It happens. I know y’all are writers and you gotta explain the loss, but sometimes, you got your butt kicked, and let’s move on. That’s how we think.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire