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Doc Rivers looks to work on conditioning, timing and pace in Sixers’ preseason opener against Boston

“I really want them to get up and down the floor against another opponent," the Sixers coach said. "I think conditioning is really important, timing, our pace."

Doc Rivers will get the first look at his Sixers team in game action Tuesday against Boston.
Doc Rivers will get the first look at his Sixers team in game action Tuesday against Boston.Read moreJack Dempsey / AP

Doc Rivers said he’ll probably be sitting back and taking notes.

“Just like you guys,” the 76ers coach said to the media Monday about the preseason opener against the Boston Celtics. “They may think I am one of the Philly writers doing the game.”

Now, Rivers won’t literally take written notes Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. But he’ll take a lot of mental ones. Rivers said he wasn’t looking for anything specific, but wanted to use this game in part to work on conditioning.

“Try not to use many timeouts, but I know I will,” Rivers said. “I really want them to get up and down the floor against another opponent. I am not really worried how the score looks when I use a timeout. I think conditioning is really important, timing, our pace.”

The best way of doing that is limiting the amount of breaks in action.

While Rivers won’t say it, there are some specific things the Sixers need to pay attention to, especially on offense.

They will run more pick-and-rolls under Rivers compared to the past seven seasons with Brett Brown. They’ll also run a motion offense with every position interchangeable besides the five spot. Right now, the offense is a day-to-day process.

» READ MORE: Sixers’ defense further along than offense heading into Tuesday’s preseason game vs. Boston Celtics

Rivers said Sunday his key guys will play a lot of minutes for at least the first half. That will enable the players and coaching staff to get a feel for the rotation.

The coach said he’s excited to see members of his second-unit play.

“Obviously, Shake [Milton] and Furkan [Korkmaz] being together,” he said, “I definitely want to see Tyrese [Maxey] with that group because of his ball-handling ability and his ability to shoot. Mike Scott has had a phenomenal training camp, not a good one. A phenomenal one.”

» READ MORE: Sixers rookie Tyrese Maxey is looking forward to ‘just playing basketball again’ | Off the Dribble

Rivers is happy for Scott, who had a brief and unsuccessful stint playing for Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers. He signed with the Clippers on July 9, 2018 and was traded to the Sixers on Feb. 6, 2019. He averaged 4.8 points and 14.4 minutes in 52 games with Los Angeles.

“He had a shot with me the first time and I think he knows what I am looking for out of him,” Rivers said. “You can see he has come in very comfortable. ... And he has been great.”

Rivers said he hasn’t decided on a sixth man yet, but one gets the sense the job could be Milton’s to lose. The Sixers’ starting lineup consists of Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, Seth Curry and Ben Simmons.

The coach said Milton can be a starter or a sixth man.

“Shake is going to be a heck of a basketball player,” Rivers said. “He really is. You can just see it all over him. So with him and Furkan, that type of firepower that you can use off the bench. Man, that is going to make us pretty good.”

On Monday, the Sixers waived point guard Derrick Walton Jr. and Ryan Broekhoff. This brings their training camp roster to 18 players, one above the regular-season limit. Teams can have 15 regular players and two two-way guys.

Two-way players can go between the NBA and the NBA G-League. The Sixers’ G League affiliate is the Delaware Blue Coats.

NBA teams are allowed to bring up a two-way player for a maximum of 45 days. After that, teams have to sign the player to the regular 15-man roster or send him to the G League. In the former case, the Sixers would have to release someone to make room for the player.