Joel Embiid Issues Strong Statement on Doc Rivers After Sixers Beat Bulls

The Philadelphia 76ers suffered a crushing loss at the hands of the Chicago Bulls in double overtime on March 20, but two days later, the Sixers didn’t let the loss affect them, as they blew the Bulls out 116-91.

After the game, Sixers star Joel Embiid talked about how, in the past, the Sixers would usually let losses like those get to them.

“When you look at my first couple of years, some games that we came back this year, there was no way we would have come back,” Embiid said, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We would lose one.”

Embiid then singled out head coach Doc Rivers for the growth both he and the Sixers have had since they hired him in 2020.

“To come back and be able to jump a team early, a 20- to 25-point lead, they had no answers,” Embiid said. “That just shows you the growth. Doc and the coaches deserve a lot of credit.

“They changed not necessarily the culture, but they’ve been on me from the beginning.”

Since being the Sixers’ coach, Rivers has guided the Sixers to a no. 1 seed, a no. 4 seed, and what will most likely be a top-3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Doc Rivers Sends Message on Sixers’ Health

The Sixers went into their game against the Bulls with James Harden out due to a sore Achilles, they then lost Embiid during the game due to calf tightness.

Joel Embiid has mild right calf tightness. He did not play second half. He is expected to play Friday. Doc Rivers says he is not concerned but they are going on a long flight with 3 more games on West Coast and out of precaution they sat Joel second half

— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 23, 2023

After the game, Rivers said that he was not concerned with Embiid’s injury, believing he should be ready for the Sixers’ next game.

“Not much, not at all really,” Rivers told reporters, via Philly Voice reporter Kyle Neubeck. “I think he’ll be ready for next game…whenever you hear calf you just say, that’s it. But not concerned.”

Rivers also talked about how the Sixers want to be healthy more than anything when the playoffs come around.

“We’ve gone into the playoffs two years in a row with injuries,” Rivers told reporters after the Sixers beat the Bulls. “We all know you don’t win in the playoffs if your key guys aren’t healthy. Period. And so we’re going to do whatever we can to be healthy.”

While the Sixers are still competing for a high seed in the Eastern Conference, Rivers is correct to prioritize health in the playoffs no matter what.

Zach LaVine Issues Strong Statement on Joel Embiid

After the Sixers beat the Bulls, Bulls star Zach LaVine praised both the Sixers and Embiid for adjusting to the defense they threw at him.

“We knew they were going to come out strong like that,” LaVine said. “They did the right thing. They did a lot of adjustments. It was tough. Joel, give credit to him, we were set on getting the ball out of his hands, and he did it fast. And those guys made a lot of shots, 3s to open (the game) up.”

At the same time, Embiid left the game halfway in because of calf tightness, but the Sixers held on despite missing him and Harden.

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