James Harden, PJ Tucker see benefits of tougher schedule for Sixers
PHILADELPHIA–At this stage of the 2022-23 season, the Philadelphia 76ers are not quite at the level of the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. After a tough 110-107 loss on Saturday where some familiar issues have popped up, the team still has a long way to go.
For one, Philadelphia saw a 15-point lead in the third quarter evaporate as they left Al Horford wide-open on so many triples which allowed him to hit five of them in the second half. Then, their bench had a very tough night as the Celtics proved to be a deeper team. Finally, Boston showed off an ability to execute down the stretch.
With that being said, there are going to be more games such as this one down the stretch before the playoffs. It offers an opportunity to grow.
“That’s what it’s gonna be like from here on out,” said James Harden. “We got a tough schedule. Every game is gonna be competitive and we got to find ways to win. We’re just going to build our character for the postseason so it’s good for us.”
The execution late in games is going to be something to watch down the stretch. The Celtics were confident in everything they did and it ended up with Jayson Tatum drilling the go-ahead triple late to lead Boston to the win. Harden and the Sixers will have to figure that out as they move forward with their title plans.
“All these games are meaningful,” added PJ Tucker. “We want to win all of them, but having to go through these end-of-game situations night after night, you don’t necessarily really want to, but it’s not also a bad thing getting used to things that we do, things that we run.”
Tucker had a terrific night for Philadelphia as he had seven points and 16 rebounds in the effort. He and the Sixers put themselves in a position to win the game, but it just wasn’t there late.
“It’s something that we were talking about executing and getting better at that,” Tucker added. “Especially, after timeouts in the game, getting better at that and I feel like we did an OK job, but we came up short. He (Tatum) made a tough shot.”
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