Sixers finding ways to stick together, prepare for championship run
CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers came out of the All-Star break knowing that things would be tough for them before the playoffs began. The final stretch of their schedule was filled with many challenges and road games, but they have found a way to succeed.
After stumbling a bit coming out of the break with losses to the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, they have bounced back nicely as they are 6-1 thus far in March as they fight their way through this tough stretch.
“I think just the togetherness,” said Georges Niang. “When we got back from break, those two games were tough. I mean, you win the Memphis one and then you lose to the Celtics, and then drop one to the Heat. We could have learned one or two ways. We could have splintered or we could have stuck together and figure it out. I think we’ve really come together because we truly believe in each other and realize that we have an opportunity to be something great.”
Losing to the Celtics is one thing, but losing to a struggling Heat team at home seemed to be a breaking point for Philadelphia. Coach Doc Rivers had a message for his team after that loss and they appear to have taken the message to heart.
“I think Doc sat us down after that Miami game,” Niang added. “And was like, ‘Hey, you know, you may have another chance at this, but for the most of you, you may not and you don’t want to sit back when your career is over and be like damn, I wish I took that a little more serious’ and I think that definitely hit guys in the head or in the heart, or maybe in both where they’re like ‘Alright, let’s really pour into each other and make the most of this so that we can win a championship.”
The Sixers have a ton of talented players. Obviously, they’re led by two big ones in Joel Embiid and James Harden and the two of them have altered their games to help Philadelphia succeed. Embiid has changed his shot profile to help the offense flow and Harden has sacrificed a lot to ensure that the big fella is still the main focus.
The fact that the two stars have sacrificed and changed for the betterment of the team has made it easier for guys like De’Anthony Melton, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, Danuel House Jr., Niang, and others to alter their own games to have success as a team.
“I’d say absolutely,” Niang continued. “Like who are me or anybody else to not fix their game to kind of fit into what the team needs if those guys are going to buy in? So I think those guys have done a tremendous job of leading the way and we also have like unsung heroes.”
Those unsung heroes have helped the Sixers turn things around after a 12-12 start.
“D-Melt, Tobias, Tyrese, Jalen (McDaniels) has come in and did a great job. Paul Reed has been phenomenal, D-House,” Niang finished. “To be out the rotation for a while then come in and give us valuable minutes. I think every guy is just ready for their opportunity and gonna take advantage of every opportunity that’s given to them.”
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