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Sixers getting their ‘exercise’ over this final week of the regular season

These final games might be painful for viewers, but beneficial for the team’s postseason prospects.

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

With the Philadelphia 76ers locked into the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, we got a glimpse of what these final regular season games would look like in Thursday night’s 129-101 loss to the Miami Heat. As you could tell from that margin of defeat, things may not be pretty this weekend from a scoreboard or on-court product perspective. Doc Rivers was asked what he didn’t like about the team’s play and had this to say:

“There was more than one thing tonight. We just didn’t come to play tonight. We didn’t have great energy. Very difficult game to have energy, honestly. It was an exercise tonight.”

Treating a game as an exercise obviously isn’t going to get it done from a competitive standpoint, particularly against an opponent like Miami who is still holding on to a chance at avoiding the Play-In tournament. Rivers spoke to the disparity in urgency Thursday night:

“I wasn’t sure if I could sense [Miami’s] sense of urgency or our lack of urgency. I wasn’t sure which one was which. Cleary, you knew they were going to come with everything they had. This was a tough game. A tough game even for me, before. Really struggled with playing guys at all. I really did. It was tough one.”

Things will likely get even less competitive starting tonight in Atlanta, with Joel Embiid reportedly out for that game (and likely Sunday’s finale in Brooklyn). Joel spoke during Thursday’s postgame like a man with his mind already on the postseason:

“Obviously, it’s all about the playoffs. With no chance of moving up or moving down, we’ve got to think about what’s best for everybody.”

For those Philadelphia fans worried about Embiid losing a degree of game conditioning over an extended rest period, Joel seemed unconcerned by the idea:

“I’m more experienced. I’m know how my body works. I know what I need. I know how many days off I need. I know when to get back up, so I should be good.”

Of course, the primary reason for staying off the court is to ensure everybody is as healthy as possible heading into the start of the first round next weekend, something Tobias Harris mentioned right away as a focus:

“Staying healthy. That’s No. 1. Just work on our stuff. Work on our execution. Offensively and defensively. Figure out where we can be at our best. Our ball movement. Our skills defensively and how we’re going to guard during the playoffs. Different mismatches and what not. That’s the name of the game for us.”

So for those of us basketball-hungry enough to still tune in over these final two regular season games, what should we expect? I’m sure we’ll see a good bit of the champion Delaware Blue Coats. As for the main part of the roster, Doc commented the following:

“You pick and choose what you’re trying to get out of guys, really. That’s what we’ll do the next two games.”

Keep everyone healthy. Enjoy some Mac McClung highlights over these final two games and wait for the games to really count again starting April 15.

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