The Philadelphia 76ers are keeping all of their options open as they gear up for their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics on Monday, including their starting five.
“We’re talking a lot about doing different things,” coach Brett Brown said, after being asked about [Matisse] Thybulle joining the starting lineup. “It is being considered.”
Brown hasn’t given any hints as to who will be on the floor for the tip-off or who Thybulle could replace, but he did allude that the Sixers’ rookie, who put up impressive number his first year, would have ample playing time when the team takes on their Atlantic Division rival.
“Matisse will have a significant role defensively in this series,” Brown said.
.@sixers @MatisseThybulle finished his rookie season with 93 steals and 47 blocks. He is the eighth rookie in the last 20 years to reach such totals.
Thybulle played 1,287 minutes this season, while none of the other eight played fewer than 2,000.
h/t @StatHead pic.twitter.com/xlnDBHu0CO
— Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) August 15, 2020
Two possible replacees in the starting lineup are Shake Milton, and Al Horford.
Milton joined the starting lineup when Ben Simmons was moved to power forward.
Horford was brought back into the starting five after Simmons’ season-ending injury.
The Celtics Jayson Tatum has been on a tear in the bubble, and the Sixers will need a strong defensive effort against the third-year All-Star if they hope to move to the second round.
Thybulle and Glenn Robinson III, who is out at least another 7-10 days with a muscle strain, could be the Sixers’ best hope of slowing down Tatum.
“The challenge when you look at all of those gifted wing scorers … the Ben demise and the Glenn Robinson lack of availability is punishing,” Brown said. “And so what it means is you’ve got to go down to other obvious players — you’re not just going to have [Josh Richardson] and Matisse play 48 minutes — and so it bleeds into a lot of other things that are the reason you have a team and the group effort, the understanding of some sort of like knowledge of personnel tendencies, the schematic end of a game plan … it’s got to be precise,” said Brown.
The Sixers and the Celtics tip off Monday night at 6:30 pm in the bubble.