Sixers head coach Doc Rivers let it be known before Saturday’s game between the Sixers and the Nuggets that he believed the circumstances warranted a postponement.
Mike Scott was active, giving the Sixers at least eight players, but Rivers did not think he was healthy enough to appear in an NBA game. The 32-year-old had missed the last four competitions with a left knee contusion.
“I think we have eight active players,” Rivers said Saturday. “One has been injured in Mike Scott. I can tell you now, there’s no way I’m playing him. I just do not think he should play. ”
On Tuesday, Scott played 46 minutes and scored 1
“That was it,” he said. “What you just said.”
How was his communication with Rivers leading into the game?
“You’ll have to ask Doc,” he said. “I’m not a snitch.”
After leading the Sixers to victory with 45 points and 16 rebounds against Miami, Joel Embiid was more expansive on the subject. He was ruled out of Saturday’s match with tightness in his back, as Rivers said Embiid had started complaining the night before. Ben Simmons also sat with swelling in his left knee despite not being on the game’s original injury report, and the Sixers were later fined $ 25,000 for not noting him.
“It looks like every other game will continue to be postponed, but us, I guess the league will continue to make us play,” said Embiid. “There really is no other explanation behind it, especially the Denver game where we had to dress an injured player just to make sure we had enough players to be able to compete while other teams they have not had so many players and the league have not got any of them to play an injured player just to make sure there is a game going on.
“So it’s unfortunate, but it’s the next man up. Can’t complain about it. Winning still counts, losses still count. We have to get all these victories. We have to keep fighting until those guys are back, and that’s our job. “
Embid’s response on Tuesday was actually somewhat mild compared to his recent Twitter activity.
Although there is no evidence of a deliberate NBA conspiracy against the Sixers, Embid’s position is fair enough. Six NBA games have been postponed so far this season, including the Celtics’ last three, with COVID-19 protocols contributing to teams not being able to field eight players. Perhaps the late reporting on Simmons and Embiid’s injuries had something to do with the league’s apparent desire to avoid a postponement on Saturday.
The Sixers had two healthier players than Miami on Tuesday when eight members of the Heat were left out due to health and safety protocols. In addition to Seth Curry, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton and Vincent Poirier were out against the Heat. Furkan Korkmaz has been ruled out by a left adductor voltage.
Terrance Ferguson now has to clear the league records after being away from the team for personal reasons. Rivers thinks it’s “a possibility” that Harris, Thybulle, Milton and Poirier could return after the Sixers’ mini-series vs. Heat, which is ready to finish on Thursday.
As for Saturday’s match, there are no satisfactory answers yet. Whatever Scott knows, there is no doubt that he keeps it to himself.