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Sixers admit they were preparing to face rival Celtics from day one

CAMDEN, N.J.–Their Round 2 opponent did not become official on Thursday night, but the Philadelphia 76ers had an idea of who they were going to face in the East semifinals all along.

After the Sixers swept the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 back on April 22, they turned their attention to the semifinals, but they did not officially have an opponent. They have one now in the form of the rival Boston Celtics after they defeated the Atlanta Hawks 4-2 in their first round series.

Despite not officially knowing who their opponent would be, the Sixers had an idea that it would be the Celtics all along. Their practice was a lot more lively on Saturday as their preparation continued.

“Just a lot of energy,” said coach Doc Rivers. “No disrespect, we felt like we were gonna play the Celtics, but now we know we are and you can see there was a way better focus today. They’re ready to play. They just wanna play.”

The fact that the Sixers have been preparing for Boston is a good sign. Even though there was a slight chance the Hawks could have completed the comeback, the Celtics are the better team and they took care of business.

“We always thought that Boston was gonna win the series so we’ve been preparing since day one for Boston,” said Paul Reed. “It’s just been a lot of making sure we stay ready, making sure we stay in rhythm, making sure we keep our rhythm offensively and defensively. That’s been the main focus.”

Game 1 of this semifinals series is set for Monday at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire