Doc Rivers, Sixers address handling tough schedule for rest of the season
CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers come out of the All-Star break with 25 games to go before the playoffs begin in April. Of those 25, the first six out of the break offer some stiff challenges.
The Sixers will take on the Memphis Grizzlies, the Boston Celtics, and the Miami Heat at home before going out on the road and facing the Heat and the Dallas Mavericks in a back-to-back, and then they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. They may be able to avoid Giannis Antetokounmpo due to his wrist injury, but the Bucks are still tough.
Thursday’s matchup with the Grizzlies will offer challenges really for both teams as they try and find their rhythm again following the long layoff.
“The first couple, you just kind of want to get back in the rhythm,” said coach Doc Rivers. “Both teams. Memphis as well, right? Then after that, you can attack it with great focus. Both games, the first two are tough games, right? For the other teams, too is the way I look at it, but this is a tough stretch.”
The schedule for the Sixers the rest of the way is tough. Even after the Bucks matchup, they have a road back-to-back with the Indiana Pacers and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“It’s a gauntlet,” added Georges Niang. “I think someone said in March we’re gonna be gone like 20 out of the 31 days and then the games we have coming up. What is it, Memphis, Boston, Miami twice, Dallas on a back-to-back, Milwaukee, Indy, and Minnesota. It’s gonna be a grind, but it’s a good preparation for us heading into playoffs. I think our guys are well-rested from the All-Star break and ready to roll.”
The fact that there are now only 25 games to go until the playoffs means this will essentially be a sprint toward the playoffs. The Sixers will be tested as they still have another West Coast swing in March where they face Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, and Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns.
“I am actually looking forward to it in a lot of ways, because I think it’s good for us,” Rivers added. “I think it’s good to come out and let’s play. It’s time. I think if there’s one thing I do like about the change in the schedule where now, when you come out of break, it’s time, and so I do like that. I think that’s good for all teams.”
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