Doc Rivers Reveals True Thoughts Before Facing Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons, Doc Rivers, Brooklyn Nets, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

Arguably the most anticipated regular-season game of the NBA season will go off on Thursday night as the Brooklyn Nets will be traveling to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. It is the first matchup between the two teams since the blockbuster trade that landed James Harden in the City of Brotherly Love with Ben Simmons heading to Brooklyn.

While Ben Simmons won’t be in the lineup for the Nets as he is still rehabbing an ailing back, he will be with the team on the bench. The fans will be amped up for the game as Simmons is likely going to receive plenty of loud boos.

76ers head coach Doc Rivers recently touched on what the environment might be in Philadelphia for the game. He believes that rivalries are good for the game and the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have one brewing, especially if they meet up in a playoff game.

“I don’t like how, let’s say, this rivalry was started,” Rivers said with a smile. “I’ll pass on all that, let me put it that way. But I love when there’s rivalries. I love when there’s teams that are in the same conference that want to play each other and go after each other. That’s all good.

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“The league is in a great place right now. It really is. I mean, you look at the East, there’s five, six teams that legitimately can win the East. In the West, the same thing. So if you’re over at the league, if you’re Adam Silver right now, you’re loving the league, you really are. Because competition is good, right? That’s what we want. We want a good, hard game, with competition. And that’s a great thing, and I think we have it in our league right now.”

Along with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat have been near the top of the standings all season. The Chicago Bulls have been as well, but have struggled against upper-echelon teams all season. The Boston Celtics are also red hot right now and are a team no one wants to play against.

The Brooklyn Nets have fallen in the standings because of their recent poor play, but with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the roster, they cannot be taken lightly. Those two are good enough to carry the Nets through a series, and Rivers knows it.

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“Kevin Durant is elite,” Rivers said. “Kyrie is elite. When you give them the ball, they’re really tough to guard. There’s no secrets to that. We’ve got some elite guys here, too, and there’s probably no secrets to that. Both teams are probably still trying to figure out stuff. They’ve had guys in and out all year. Us, too, with the trade.

“So it’s tough to have a real measure after five, either way. But it’s still good to play them. It’s good to play all these teams. I think a little bit at a time, but you learn a little bit at a time.”

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Tonight’s matchup will be one of the most-watched of the regular season. Should they meet up in the playoffs for a seven-game series, it will likely draw the most eyes and headlines of any matchup throughout the postseason.

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