NBA

Top seed part of journey to ultimate goal for 76ers coach Doc Rivers

By Sports Desk May 15, 2021

Doc Rivers told his Philadelphia 76ers team to be proud of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference but says the accomplishment is only one part of their ultimate goal.

Just five years since the 76ers recorded a 10-win season, a 122-97 triumph over the Orlando Magic on Friday secured top billing in the East for the first time in 20 years.

Seth Curry put up 20 points while Joel Embiid contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds as the 76ers made certain of home-court advantage for the playoffs.

Head coach Rivers was keen to talk up what his team have done, while also ensuring minds stay focused on the main prize: a first NBA title for the franchise since 1983.

"It's an accomplishment. I don't want to downplay it, but I told our guys to enjoy, I don't want to call it a moment, I told them to enjoy the second, because it's not what we want, but it's part of what you can get on the way to what you want," Rivers said.

"I think for this team, as young as we are, to have home-court [advantage] is really important. It's nice to have. We should feel proud of it."

The last time the 76ers topped the Eastern Conference ahead of the postseason, Philadelphia – led by MVP Allen Iverson – went on to reach the NBA Finals, though they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1.

Philadelphia have not advanced that far since, failing to make it beyond the conference semi-finals in 2003, 2012, 2018 and 2019, while they were swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics last season.

The 76ers round out their regular season with another clash against the Magic on Sunday.

Related items

  • Donovan praises short-handed Bulls for withstanding 'defensive pressure' Donovan praises short-handed Bulls for withstanding 'defensive pressure'

    Billy Donovan praised his short-handed Chicago Bulls side for coping with the "defensive pressure" applied by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Monday's narrow 111-110 triumph.

    The high-flying Bulls have been faltering in recent matches and had lost six of seven heading into the contest but managed to see it out against the Thunder to improve to 29-17 for the season.

    DeMar DeRozan was rested, while Lonzo Ball (bruised knee) and Alex Caruso (fractured wrist) were absent in a match where the Bulls had to withstand heavy fourth-quarter pressure.

    "Two of our primary ballhandlers in Lonzo and Alex are not here," said head coach Donovan, a former Thunder coach who had a 243-157 record with Oklahoma.

    "And when you get into these situations in the fourth quarter where teams turn up the defensive pressure and pick up full court, you've got to be able to handle it."

    Nicola Vucevic had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls, while rookie Ayo Dosunmu put 24 for a season high and Zach LaVine contributed 23.

    LaVine had not played since January 14 due to a bruised left knee and was happy to be back out on court for a Bulls side that lost by 19 points to the league-worst Orlando Magic last time out.

    "It felt good," LaVine said. "I got tired of just sitting at home watching. I'm about as healthy as I can get, but it just sucks sitting at home and not being able to help."

  • Suns equal best-ever start, Garland matches LeBron in Cavs win Suns equal best-ever start, Garland matches LeBron in Cavs win

    Chris Paul inspired the Phoenix Suns to a 115-109 victory over the Utah Jazz as the NBA leaders matched their best start to a season in franchise history.

    Devin Booker top-scored for the Suns with 33 points, but it was Paul's season-high 27 that got his side out of a hole against a shorthanded Jazz.

    The visitors led 87-85 at the end of the first quarter at Footprint Center and moved to 95-91 early in the second quarter as they went in search of just a third win in 10 games.

    But point guard Paul stepped up for the Suns by making his first five shots in the fourth quarter, including a couple of 3-pointers, as the hosts responded with 14-2 to take the win.

    Monty Williams' side are now 37-9 for the season, equalling their franchise record from 2006-07, ahead of facing the same opponents again on Wednesday.

     


    Cavs hold off Knicks thanks to Garland

    Darius Garland tied LeBron James' streak of 10-or-more assists in five straight games for a Cleveland Cavaliers player over the past decade in a tense 95-93 win over the New York Knicks.

    The 21-year-old point guard recorded 12 assists in total and added a critical late 3-pointer as the Cavs held off a late charge from the Knicks, who trailed 86-71 with 9:41 left in Ohio.

    Kevin Love led the scoring with 20 points, nine of those coming in just over a minute in the third quarter, as the Cavs went 10 games over .500 for the first time since the days of James in 2018.


    Pelicans power past Pacers

    Elsewhere in Monday's action, the New Orleans Pelicans trailed for a large portion of the game but had enough in the tank to beat the Indiana Pacers 117-113.

    Josh Hart played through the pain barrier to inspire the Pelicans with 22 points and 10 rebounds, adding to Devonte' Graham's 22 points.

    The Chicago Bulls put a poor run of six defeats from seven games behind them by beating Oklahoma City Thunder 111-110 in a tense encounter.

    Nikola Vucevic's 26 points and 15 rebounds were nearly not enough as the Thunder, who trailed by 28 points, missed a 3-pointer through Shai Gilgeous-Alexander late on to level the contest.

  • Davis 'probable' for Lakers-Nets following MCL sprain Davis 'probable' for Lakers-Nets following MCL sprain

    The Los Angeles Lakers are set to welcome Anthony Davis back from injury against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.

    Davis has been upgraded to probable for the game at Barclays Center, having been out for almost six weeks with an MCL sprain.

    The return of the eight-time NBA All-Star boosts a Lakers team toiling at 23-24 in eighth place in the West.

    Davis has played just 27 games this season and only 15 alongside LeBron James.

    Despite LA's poor stretch, which began with Davis in the team, going 13-14 with him in the lineup, James has excelled.

    In 20 games without Davis this year, James has averaged 32.7 points, taking on added responsibility with third man Russell Westbrook struggling.

    The Lakers will hope both Davis and the rest of the team can now rediscover their best form to recover a title push this season.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.