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Across the course of a long NBA season, there are going to be ups and downs that a team will experience and have to fight through. The Philadelphia 76ers are currently on an upward swing winning seven games in a row, but they are also dealing with some down play from their bench unit recently.
The Sixers have been playing some lesser teams that have allowed themselves to build big leads, but the bench unit has not been able to sustain those leads and coach Doc Rivers has had to reinsert his starters in three of the past four games.
In Friday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Sixers built a 17-point lead, but the bench unit was not able to keep it and Philadelphia’s starters had to come back in and seal the deal. Despite this happening, Rivers is not concerned with the way his bench has played.
“I’m not worried about it,” he stated. “I go all 66 games, they’ve been pretty good overall. We went through stretches, if you remember, the starters weren’t playing well. It’s just ebbs and flows over a long season. I’ve learned long ago, if you overreact, you get yourself in trouble, so I’m not that concerned at all.”
There were some things that Rivers was upset about with the bench unit. He was not happy with the way they played on the defensive end as New Orleans got to the basket far too easily and he was not happy with the way they struggled against their zone defense. The starters had issues with the zone defense as well, but the bench made it worse with their defensive issues.
“I thought the bench unit, their biggest problem is defense,” Rivers explained. “They came in and we actually had a nice lead, then they came in and the Pelicans scored every single time down the floor. Now, you’re walking the ball up against that zone that was affecting that second unit.”
In most cases, the defense is fine from the bench unit. They are led by All-Defensive candidate Matisse Thybulle as well as veteran George Hill with Dwight Howard protecting the rim. They just didn’t have it on Friday.
“There’s no fix, we’re a good unit,” Rivers finished. “You don’t need to go out and fix the whole team because they didn’t play well, but defensively, I thought we were horrible, all of them. That unit usually gives us some energy and they didn’t do that tonight (Friday).”
The Sixers will look to keep the winning going on Saturday when they host the Detroit Pistons at 7 p.m. EDT.
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