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Former Doc Rivers’ Player Issues Caution For Sixers’ Playoff Chances

The Philadelphia 76ers are 28-16, only half a game behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the no. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, and have won eight of their last 10 games. Yet, former NBA player Jamal Crawford does not sound too confident in their playoff chances.

In an appearance on NBA on TNT, Crawford relayed his concerns regarding how the Sixers will fare in the playoffs, particularly with James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris.

“The thing that scares me about them is, if Maxey and Tobias Harris are your second-leading guys, I’m not sure it’s gonna get you far in the playoffs,” Crawford said. “James Harden was brought there to be the second guy. I love point guard James Harden. I love how he passes the ball. But getting five, six shots in the playoffs, that’s not gonna get it done.”

“If Maxey and Tobias Harris are your second-leading guys, I’m not sure its gonna get you far in the playoffs” 👀@JCrossover on his expectations for James Harden with the Sixers pic.twitter.com/kC0CJwB9On

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 18, 2023

Crawford played for Rivers on the Los Angeles Clippers from 2013 to 2017, where he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year twice in that span – in 2014 and 2016. The furthest the Clippers went with Rivers and Crawford on the team was going to the second round in 2014, 2015, and 2017, where they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and Utah Jazz, respectively, in seven games.

Since hiring Rivers in 2020, the Sixers have also managed to get as far as the second round in the last two seasons, but that’s also as far as they’ve gone since Joel Embiid came to the team in 2014.

Harden Believes Sixers Give Him ‘Best Chance’ to Win Title

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne revealed that James Harden told her that he believes that the Sixers give him his best chance at winning a title while comparing them to some of his previously successful teams.

“We had some really good teams in Oklahoma City, then that ’18 team in Houston. But this team is definitely the best chance I’ve had to win,” Harden told Shelburne.

James Harden feels this Sixers team has the best title chances out of any team in his career 👀

(via NBA Today, @ramonashelburne) pic.twitter.com/5fn8MjpRbK

— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 18, 2023

Harden made the NBA Finals with the Thunder in 2012, then pushed the then-reigning champion Golden State Warriors to seven games in the 2018 Western Conference Finals when he played for the Rockets, but has not gone past the second round since then.

The Sixers have not won a title since 1983 and have not made the NBA Finals since 2001. Between the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Bucks, the Sixers will have quite a few obstacles to overcome just to make it back to the finals this season, but evidently, Harden is confident in their chances.

Rivers Thoughts on New Starting Lineups

After the Sixers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on January 15, Rivers confirmed that the Sixers will play one of three starting lineups every game, though he would not go into any specifics regarding who would be in each lineup.

“We told our team that’s three lineups that we’ll be using for this point on,” Rivers said, per Ky Carlin of SixersWire. “We were going to do it in the Utah game, but Tobias was out, but they know the lineups. I’m not going to share them, but there’s three different lineups we’ll use on different nights.”

Rivers revealed that the lineup they’d play would depend on who the Sixers are matching up with.

“We told our team that’s three lineups that we’ll be using for this point on,” Rivers said. “Some nights, it’d be to match up to them. Some nights, it’ll be to make them match up to us.”

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