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76ers renew acquaintances with Doc Rivers in clash vs. Bucks

Feb 23, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers reacts during the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers will look for their second consecutive victory when they host former coach Doc Rivers and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday afternoon.

Tyrese Maxey scored 24 points to lift the short-handed Sixers to a 104-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Without Joel Embiid, Robert Covington and Kyle Lowry, Maxey responded with 15 points in the fourth quarter. Former Buck Cameron Payne scored 16 points off the bench, Tobias Harris added 15 points and nine rebounds and Buddy Hield had 13 points.

Lowry, who missed Friday’s win for conditioning purposes, is expected to be available to face the Bucks.

The Sixers have had trouble with effort and energy with Embiid sidelined, however not against the Cavaliers.

“You can tell right from the start that there was a whole lot more pop, physicality, just chasing the ball and the glass better,” Sixers coach Nick Nurse said. “Better contesting, better sharing, all that stuff.”

Payne has averaged 11.0 points in six games (one start) since being acquired before the trade deadline.

“Honestly, I’m just a ‘whatever you need right now’ kind of guy,” Payne said. “If a guy is out, I’m here. Honestly, I want to be out there and obviously I want to keep showing the league that I’m a pretty good player. Our team is stacked, man. Our team is stacked and if someone’s out, then next one. Next man up, that’s kind of like how we got to get it right now. Like we said, we’re loaded, and we got to stay ready.”

The Sixers now get to face Rivers, who coached the previous three seasons in Philadelphia.

The Bucks will arrive in Philadelphia following an impressive 112-107 road victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 33 points and 13 rebounds. Damian Lillard also played a stellar all-around game with 21 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

Brook Lopez scored 16 points while Bobby Portis and Malik Beasley had 14 apiece.

“We just had a great energy about us,” Lopez said.

It was one of the most complete games since Rivers replaced Adrian Griffin on the bench. The Bucks are 4-7 since Rivers took over.

“You have to be able to lean on your defense down the stretch and our guys are starting to believe that,” Rivers added.

The Bucks also could feature some added depth with Danilo Gallinari, who was signed Wednesday and practiced with the team on Thursday.

The 35-year-old’s status is unclear for the game against the Sixers.

“The way that I play, I’m a very versatile type of player so I can play in any system with any player,” Gallinari said. “So, looking at the bigs that we got, I think that I fit. That was one of the reasons why I chose this team. I think that I can fit in very well. Very excited.”

Meanwhile, Khris Middleton is expected to remain out with an injury. He hurt his ankle on Feb. 6 against the Phoenix Suns when he landed on Kevin Durant’s foot.

–Field Level Media

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