KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Happy Hump Day!
The 76ers are hoping this turns into a Happy Bounce-back Day. A victory tonight in Game 2 would even their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
The Sixers could benefit from Celtics wing Gordon Hayward’s being sidelined for four weeks because of a Grade III right-ankle sprain. So tonight’s matchup will definitely be interesting.
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As Tobias Harris noted, the Sixers hate to lose. Monday’s Game 1 loss left a sour taste in their mouths until Tuesday morning.
“But at the same time, we know the opportunity ahead,” he said before Tuesday’s practice. “This league, this playoffs is all about confidence. You can’t hang your head too long.”
So the Sixers are getting right back up, keeping their confidence high and their minds right and ready for tonight’s Game 2 matchup.
They know there were a lot things they could have done better in Game 1. One in particular has been a season-long theme: cutting down their turnovers. The Sixers committed 18, which led to 21 points for the Celtics.
“I think we were rushing a bit, trying to figure out how we were going to maneuver it through some of their defensive schemes and just organization, as a whole, offensively wasn’t as great,” Harris said. “Our spacing wasn’t what we wanted it to be. "
Joel Embiid had five turnovers. Shake Milton, Josh Richardson and Al Horford had three apiece.
Jimmy Butler might want to heed teammate Bam Adebayo’s advice more often.
Adebayo has been trying to get Butler to shoot three-pointers. Butler listened Tuesday and buried two late in the fourth quarter to help the Heat roll to a 113-101 Game 1 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Butler finished with a game-high 28 points.
His first three gave the Heat a 104-95 lead with 3 minutes, 26 remaining. His second made it a 107-95 advantage with 2:29 left.
‘‘I mean, I take what the game gives me the majority of the time,’’ said Butler, who played for the Sixers last season. ‘‘Sometimes I’m forced into taking some bad shots, but in the end, my teammates, my coaches was like `Don’t lose this game. Win it for us,’ and that’s what I was thinking. Make the right play, and those two possessions, it was a pull-up three.‘'
Today: Sixers vs. Celtics at The Field House, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Friday: Celtics vs. Sixers at The Field House, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Sunday: Celtics vs. Sixers at The Field House, 1 p.m., ABC
*Tuesday: Sixers vs. Celtics at TBD, TBD
*Aug. 27: Celtics vs. Sixers at TBD, ESPN
*Aug. 29: Sixers vs. Boston at TBD, TNT
Send questions by email or on Twitter (@PompeyOnSixers)
Question: If Hayward misses time, what lineup do you think the Sixers can use to take advantage? — @MarcC856 on Twitter
Answer: Thanks for the question. I think the Sixers might have to go a starting lineup of Shake Milton, Josh Richardson, Thybulle, Harris and Embiid because Marcus Smart is expected to replace Hayward in the Celtics’ starting lineup.
I think the Sixers would struggle to defend the Celtics with a big lineup. So starting Thybulle instead of Horford would be their best bet.