James Harden’s heroics in Game 4 lifted the 76ers to a 116-115 win that tied the series at 2-2. Tonight, the Sixers are back on the road and are headed to Boston for a pivotal Game 5. Philadelphia’s head coach Doc Rivers was asked about certain players not getting any minutes in Game 4. His response was that the Sixers are going to be playing their stars in larger minutes moving forward.
In Game 4, Philly only used three players off the bench. Jalen McDaniels received a DNP and that was odd after he had played in all of the 76ers’ playoff games before Sunday. Georges Niang and DeAnthony Melton saw most of the minutes off the bench for the Sixers.
Rivers even hinted that he may cut the rotation to six or seven players if they need to. NBA betting sites have the 76ers at (+245) to win Game 5 on the road tonight in Boston.
round 2 – game 5.
🕢 7:30 PM
presented by @Toyota | @Ticketmaster pic.twitter.com/10eREbtDsp
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 9, 2023
Doc Rivers was quite literal when he shared his plans that he is going to shorten the rotation
When talking to the media yesterday, Doc Rivers shared his plans for what he’s going to do with the rotation moving forward. The numbers back up the rotations he’s used in each of their first four playoff games. Philly has won the games where he plays eight or fewer and they have lost the other two games when 9+ players are used.
In Game 1, Rivers used an eight-man rotation. DeAthony Melton played 25 minutes, Georges Niang played 13 minutes, and Jalen McDaniels played 11 minutes off the bench. Philly won that game. The same did not happen in Game 2. They were blown out, 121-87 and Doc Rivers used 14 of the 15 players he had available.
For Game 3, the rotation was cut to 10, but the Sixers still lost. Rivers knew he had to make some adjustments even if that meant cutting the rotation further. In Game 4, his rotation was eight, as it was in Game 1. The eight-man rotation worked for Philly and they walked away with a narrow 116-115 win to even the series.