Sixers' Tobias Harris a fan of NBA play-in tournament 'because we aren’t in it'

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Harris has simple reason for being fan of NBA play-in tournament originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Tobias Harris cares about the NBA’s play-in tournament. 

He knows the results will determine the team the Sixers face in Round 1 of the playoffs, and that it promises to be entertaining for neutrals.

The 28-year-old is happy to admit his opinion on the subject is skewed by where the Sixers sit, though. 

“I’m a fan because we aren’t in it,” he said with a laugh after the Sixers’ Tuesday afternoon practice. “I’m a fan because we’re not in it. In this type of season, this amount of days to be able to rest, put work in (for the Sixers) … but I think it brings excitement to the league and to the fans. I think this play-in tournament is really good competition. If you look even at the (Western Conference) and who’s in it, there’s going to be some good basketball being played. But if we were in it, I’d give you a different answer there.”

Before the Sixers’ playoff opener Sunday at Wells Fargo Center, Harris will have a few leisurely nights at home. The play-in tournament will run Tuesday through Friday, and the Sixers will know their opponent after a game Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET to decide the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed. 

“I’m going to sit on my couch and watch it,” he said. “That’s the plan. I’m not setting up a watch party or anything. I’m just going to sit on my couch and watch the games, and may the best man win. And then they come in and see us.”

A good-humored Doc Rivers doesn’t have any copious note-taking on his agenda, though he’ll be enjoying some Philadelphia cuisine. 

“I’m going to have pasta from Saloon in front of me,” the Sixers head coach said. “I’ll have a steak from Steak 48 in front of me. And if I can reach over the food to my notepad, I’ll do that, as well. But yeah, clearly you watch every game — both conferences.

“First of all, it’s fun. It’s something you want to watch. I really look forward to it. The best part of the playoffs is when you’re not playing, you can sit there and watch all the different things that happen in a playoff game. And they’re teachers for you, as well.”

If the play-in tournament existed, Harris and Rivers would’ve been participants as members of the 2017-18 Clippers, a team that finished 10th in the Western Conference at 42-40. 

According to Rivers, every Sixer took part in Tuesday’s practice. In addition to transition defense, he named a couple of others areas the team focused on. 

“Just making our cuts sharper when different guys have the ball in the post, when different guys have it on the elbow,” he said. “Clean up our execution offensively. I really thought the slippage showed in a great way for us in the last month of the season. I thought a lot of that was we were playing teams with injuries … just mentally, you kind of slide. Just getting back to that I think is really important for us.”

Curry describes long-term COVID-19 impact 

Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19 during the Sixers’ Jan. 7 game against the Nets. Though he was cleared to return on Jan. 22, he’s talked throughout this season about not being in his best shape or rhythm.

Asked Tuesday whether he’s had lingering effects from COVID-19, Curry said he’d heard what Celtics star Jayson Tatum said recently about how the virus continues to impact him, calling his experience “kind of similar.”

“It’s hard to explain,” Curry said. “You feel a little bit differently as a whole, and just the way I breathe at times is a little bit different — a little more fatigued. I’m pretty much healthy. I’m coming back and just trying to work through it. I’m just trying to be patient with myself and hopefully get back to all the way that I was feeling before. But I’m good enough to go and be back out on the floor, so that’s the good part.”