Sixers not worried about the past in preparation for Game 5 vs. Celtics
CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers are in a similar position as this Eastern Conference semifinal continues. For the third consecutive season, they are in a 2-2 series in Round 2.
In 2021, they blew a 26-point lead at home and fell to the Atlanta Hawks in a Game 5 on the road. In 2022, they suffered a blowout loss to the Miami Heat in a Game 5 on the road.
Now, they will look to win a Game 5 in this current situation to take another step to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2001.
With that being said, coach Doc Rivers and the Sixers are not worried about past failures. The focus is to keep pushing forward.
“I think, and I’ve always said that, I think that’s more of a fan thing,” Rivers said. “Our hunger is not—our hunger is to go to the finals. We’re not thinking about last year or the year before. That’s just wasted energy. What is that gonna do? It’s not even the same team playing. We don’t even have half the guys that were here, but the will to want to win and advance is big and you gotta make sure that doesn’t overtake your brain.”
The Sixers are going to play their hearts out. Just as the Celtics will do the same. The difference for Rivers is going to be who plays the smartest. Especially, after the Sixers made a lot of mental mistakes late in regulation of the Game 4 win.
“You still gotta—there’s a thing,” Rivers continued. “You can play hard, but if you don’t play hard and smart, you’re gonna get beat. We’re gonna show that today. There were a couple times that we really did a hard thing that wasn’t very smart and so you gotta do both. You gotta have your composure at the same time that you’re playing all out.”
Game 5 is going to be a very tough battle for both teams. The Sixers saw a double-digit lead slip away in the fourth quarter while the Celtics saw a five-point lead slip away in the final two minutes. Both teams feel as if they can win this series and it will come down to who plays the smartest basketball down the stretch.
“We feel like if we would have kept playing the way we were playing, there wouldn’t have been no overtime,” said Rivers. “They feel like they had a five-point lead with two minutes left, there should be no overtime. So you have two teams coming into Game 5 extremely confident.”
Game 5 is Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. EDT from TD Garden in Boston.
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