The 76ers are focused on Boston.
The NBA season has been suspended since March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The expectation is the league might not resume until July, if at all, this season.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas are the leading possible locations for a 16-team playoff minus fans. The site is expected to be a bubble-like atmosphere where players would be in isolation.
But that type of setup is not a done deal for the NBA, according to league commissioner Adam Silver. Nor is he ruling out resuming the season with regular-season games.
Just don’t tell that to the Sixers.
“We are talking about the Celtics as if that could be an opponent,” said general manager Elton Brand, whose team would face Boston in an opening-round series based on the teams’ seeds if the postseason began Wednesday. “Brett [Brown] and his staff have also prepared for other teams in case there is a regular season and the [seeds] change. But we’ve done a deep dive.”
The Eastern Conference’s third-place Celtics (43-21) would host the sixth-place Sixers (39-26) in the best-of-seven opening-round series if the NBA opted to go straight to playoffs.
It would mark the second time in three seasons the Atlantic Division rivals met in the postseason. The Celtics disposed of the Sixers in five games in the second round of the 2018 playoffs.
The Sixers, however, won three of this regular season’s four meetings.
“As a fan, of course, I’d love to see it,” Brand said of facing the Celtics. "I want to see this team in the playoffs. I’ve said it many times, that’s what we were built for.
“I want to see that, but I know it’s going to be based on the [coronavirus] data.”
In addition to the players and fans, Brand said resuming the season will be based on the safety and health of the community.
“We are preparing as if we are going to go to the playoffs and play the Celtics,” he said.