Paul Reed gets his first NBA start, Furkan Korkmaz returns for Sixers-Bulls

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CHICAGO – Doc Rivers has announced that the shorthanded 76ers will play “creative” squads on Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls. That included the group that initially spoke, as sophomore big man Paul Reed got his first career start in the NBA alongside Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, Seth Curry and Joel Embiid.

The roster shuffle was due to Danny Green missing his third straight game with hamstring strain and Matisse Thybulle was out for Saturday’s game while he was in health and safety protocols in reason for contact tracing. Tobias Harris and Isaiah Joe remain on health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

Entering Saturday, Reed had played 32 career NBA games and averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per game. He had four points and nine rebounds, a season-high, in Thursday’s win in Detroit. He was the G League MVP last season and played college ball at nearby DePaul.

The Sixers hosted reserve winger Furkan Korkmaz (wrist), who missed the Detroit Pistons game. Korkmaz and Green were at the shootout on Saturday morning, and Rivers was hoping during his pre-game media availability that at least one would be able to play against the Bulls. When asked what they looked like during the morning session, Rivers joked that Green, 34, “looks old and sluggish” every day, but Korkmaz “looks good in. the whole “and” if he can shoot with that hand, he’s fine “.

READ MORE: Matisse Thybulle becomes third Sixers player placed in NBA COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Green has been out since leaving Monday’s win over Portland with his injury.

As additional reinforcements, the Sixers also called in rookie goalie Jaden Springer and two-way winger Aaron Henry, who had been with the Delaware Blue Coats of the G League and who were scheduled to play in that team’s opener. Saturday night.

“Obviously, they’d rather play in the NBA,” Rivers said of Springer and Henry. “But they were probably really looking forward to playing [Saturday]so it was probably a tough call for them.

When Maxey spearheads a Sixers transition opportunity, Rivers regularly calls for a “double drag” from the sideline.

This prompts two Sixers frontcourt players to place back-to-back ball screens at an angle for Maxey, forcing the defender to pass under or over both picks in an attempt to confuse who to keep when a screen rolls. and the other one bursts.

It’s a way to unlock Maxey’s blazing speed to step into the paint with the ball in his hands to finish at the rim or kick open shooters.

“We use it against teams depending on where they use their 5 [center]Rivers said. “If their 5 is in a drop [coverage], we’re gonna do it all night because that means [Maxey is] downhill. [If] the 5 helps, it’s the big one sitting on the edge.

Rivers added that he still wanted Maxey to primarily attack the basket even when a defender goes under the screen. While this approach can create space for Maxey to stop for a jumper, it’s also what the defense expects from the point guard who came in on Saturday shooting 51.5 percent from the ground and 34.8 % at a distance of three points.

“You choose when you take these photos,” Rivers said. “But if you settle for them all night, the Bulls will be there [saying], ‘Thank you so much.’ … So we want it to keep mixing, but if you shoot just because they’re sinking, that’s exactly what they want you to do.

Visiting NBA teams usually hold morning shootouts in the opponent’s home arena or other private location. On Saturday in Chicago, however, the Sixers performed their morning workout at a gym at a local recreation center just outside of downtown.

The scene was typical for such a place on a weekend morning. A youth football game between a team wearing red jerseys called the Cardinals played against a blue-clad team called the Chargers on the adjacent field. Families brought their children inside the facility to participate in a variety of physical activities.

Even after center staff attempted to clean the building before the Sixers arrived, many saw an unexpected celebrity when the buses pulled up.

A young boy wearing a bright green Oregon sweatshirt and a blue and red New York Giants beanie was particularly excited. He pulled out his cell phone to capture video of the players and staff walking through the side door.

“Doc! He cried as Rivers walked into the gym.

“What’s up, André ?! he cried as André Drummond came downstairs.

“Joel! What’s good, brother ?! ”he shouted at Embiid, who recognized him with a point.


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