Doc Rivers has no complaints.
Under the old format, the 76ers coach would have played Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series Wednesday.
But because his team had to wait for the play-in tournament to conclude, Rivers’ squad spent the morning trying to fine-tune things at practice. They’ll be back at it Thursday to prepare for their opening-round series against the Toronto Raptors. Game 1 is 6 p.m. Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
That’s a long time between games for a Sixers squad that completed the regular season Sunday.
“I think this is really good,” Rivers said. “Maybe if I had been together [it would be different]. If you’re Golden [State] or Milwaukee, I’m sure they would love to jump right into it. They already know what they’re doing. But in this case, honestly, I think it’s good for us. So I like it.”
Getting James Harden up to speed with practice repetitions has been a priority for the Sixers. The team acquired the perennial All-NBA selection in a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 10. However, most of his preparation focused on film because the Sixers rarely held in-season practices.
“I think he’s getting it,” Rivers said following Wednesday’s practice. “I don’t think any of us are there yet. But we’re working on it. We’re a work in progress.”
In preparation for the Raptors, the Sixers are working on continuity and spacing.
“I think this week actually before playoffs start is huge for every team, especially for us,” Georges Niang said. “It’s given us a week to really dial in on what spacing really works for us. What doesn’t work. How do we want to attack different matchups, different teams and how do we want to defend them.”
Niang feeling better
The reserve power forward said he’s been feeling better after missing the final two regular-season games with left knee patella tendinopathy.
“I got a great two days of practice,” Niang said.
He is having a career season with the Sixers, averaging career bests of 9.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 22.8 minutes per game.
He’s also second on the team in three-point percentage at .403.
Utah Jazz Summer League
The Sixers will partake in the Utah Jazz Summer League from July 5-7 at Vivint Arena. They will compete against the Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, and Oklahoma City Thunder. This event will showcase rookies selected in the June 23 draft, second-year players, select free agents, and NBA G League prospects.