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Doc Rivers, Sixers using time off to sharpen their tools for playoff battles

USA Today

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Article Summary:

The Sixers had a little stretch where they struggled with zone defenses, and it cost them in losses to the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat on the road.

With the time off and the time to practice, coach Doc Rivers wants the team to pay attention to detail. “In the regular season, you’re just learning how to play with each other. For the playoffs, you’re fine-tuning what you already know. We had a lot of slippage in the second half of the season, with all these guys missing games and the amount of games that you have with lack of practice so it just gives us an opportunity to sharpen our tools.”

The team could not establish any paint touches and they could not get Joel Embiid in a groove in the loss to the Heat. “Clean up our execution offensively. I thought the slippage showed for us in the last month of the season. We were playing teams with injuries and just mentally, you kind of slide so just getting back to that I think is really important for us.”

For the most part, the Sixers have done a great job of helping Embiid with his post-work when it comes to handling double teams. “We’ve handled zone very well until the last couple of games, probably last five games I thought we didn’t handle either one very well, but it’s nothing that we haven’t done all year. I’m not that concerned by it, but we have to get back to doing what we are doing. We’ll work on that for sure.”

It helps that the team can get back to work and practice a bit.

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