CHARLESTON, S.C. — Tuesday’s fatal shooting after a football scrimmage outside Roxborough High School was in 76ers coach Doc Rivers’ thoughts Wednesday after training camp practice at The Citadel.
Nicolas Elizalde, 14, was killed in the shooting while four other teens were wounded, police said.
“Obviously, we all know about the shooting at Roxborough,” Rivers said at the start of his post-practice media availability. “I mean, it’s just amazing what’s going on in Philadelphia and everywhere with the guns. It’s just sad. A kid loses his life.
“You know, the pictures of it are just horrendous. You see football equipment laying on the grass. And I swear, it was so much easier when I grew up. You just think about it. You felt safe walking home.”
Gun violence is plaguing Philadelphia. More than 1,400 people in the city have been shot this year, more than 400 of them fatally. So far, 178 children have been shot in the city and 23 have died.
The Sixers recently talked about the city’s gun violence.
“Obviously, if anybody knew the answer, we would try to find the answer there, you know, other than taking guns off the street,” Rivers said. “But that’s too political. So we’ve got to figure it out.”
Focus on defense
The Sixers have been preaching since the team’s media day that their goal is to be the best defensive team in the league this season.
“I think if we’re the best defensive team, we’ll be the best team in the league,” P.J. Tucker said after practice. “That goes without saying. Every year, the top one, two defensive teams are always there every year.
“That’s what it’s all about. We know if we get stops, we know we have a chance to win every single night.”
» READ MORE: Sixers plan to ride out the storm in South Carolina
Big men get physical
Paul Reed’s jersey was stained with blood as he spoke to the media following Wednesday’s practice.
“I didn’t even notice that,” he said, looking down at his jersey. “That’s crazy. It’s a brawl out there. We’ve got a war, for real, in the scrimmages.”
The third-year post player said he didn’t know whose blood it was but wouldn’t be surprised if it was his own. The blood signified how competitive and physical the Sixers have been during their training camp scrimmages.
“We’ve definitely been physical,” he said. “I mean, I’m a big. They’re bigs. So we’re going to bang. There’s a lot of physicality for sure and I have to guard Joel [Embiid, all 7-foot-2, 280 pounds of him]. So you know how that goes.”
Why Tucker chose Sixers
Tucker noted earlier this week that he and James Harden had talked about joining the Sixers for a couple of years.
But what was it specifically that made them want to come to Philly?
“Um,” Tucker said. “This guy. I can’t remember the guy’s name … Embiid? It was just that situation to be able to win — if we are leaving [the Houston Rockets], where could we go?
“Nah, seriously, it’s the opportunity to be able to play with other like-minded players, guys that are kind of like us. Leaving a situation, you are looking for positive situations where we could grow and be good.”