Thanks to Friday night’s 112-105 victory over the Chicago Bulls, Doc Rivers and his 76ers staff will coach Kevin Durant’s team in the NBA All-Star Game.
The game is March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Rivers earned the honor thanks to the Sixers having the Eastern Conference’s best record at this point in the season.
Rivers was asked about the honor during his pregame media availability Friday. He jokingly remained silent with a straight face for a couple of seconds.
“That’s my answer,” Rivers said with a laugh after the pause.
“You know, I prefer to golf over [the] All-Star break, let me put it that way,” he added. “But listen, it’s a honor because it means your team’s doing well. So that’s always good. That’s the way I look at it.”
Rivers joked that the honor he wanted was being able to pick any coach from another team for the All-Star Game.
“I think that would be hilarious,” Rivers said.
Who would he pick?
“Probably Pop,” he said, referring to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “It would be awesome.”
Thybulle knows it will take years to build a real reputation in NBA
One would think Matisse Thybulle would be surprised by the reactions from his stellar defensive performances.
The 76ers guard was a lockdown defender at Eastside Catholic outside of Seattle. At the University of Washington, Thybulle was the 2019 Naismith defensive player of the year and a two-time PAC-12 defensive player of the year. And as a Sixers rookie a year ago, the 23-year-old shut down some of the league’s elite players.
Yet you wouldn’t know by the reactions he receives after shutting down another player.
Thybulle is not shocked by them.
“I think to a certain extent to the NBA, it’s like, ‘What have you done, lately?’ ” he said following Friday morning’s shootaround. “Especially a young player, you’ve got to prove yourself night-in and night-out. People don’t like to when you say it, but it takes years to build a real reputation and for people to learn to expect certain things from you and to just become used to it.
“So I take it as a compliment, and I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing.”
Thybulle is eighth in the league in steals at 1.6 per game despite averaging just 17.7 minutes per game. Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, a former Sixer, leads the league with 1.9 per game while playing 32.5 minutes a game.
Los Angeles Clippers small forward Kawhi Leonard (1.8 steals in 34.4 minutes per game), Indiana Pacers reserve point guard T.J. McConnell (1.7 in 24.0), Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (1.7 in 36.6) and Sixers facilitator Ben Simmons (1.7 in 33.4) round out the Top 5.
Thybulle has also blocked 22 shots in 26 games.