As the NBA world salivated on intriguing Game 6 quarterfinal matchups on Friday, Brett Brown was focused on the 76ers’ next unknown opponent.
The Sixers coach been focused since closing out the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Heat on Tuesday. And he’ll continue to do so until he’ll learn his squad’s next opponent on Saturday night.
His team will face the winner of the Boston-Milwaukee quarterfinal series in Game 1 on Monday at 8 p.m. The decisive Game 7 between the Bucks and Celtics is 8 p.m. Saturday at Boston’s TD Garden.
If the second-seeded Celtics win Saturday, they would get home-court advantage and host Game 1 on Monday night. The Sixers, however, would open the series at the Wells Fargo Center if the seventh-seeded Bucks win.
But at 1 p.m. Friday, Brown had the look of someone who’s been at the practice facility for a long time. He donned a blue Sixers sweatshirt, a pain of shorts, socks and slippers.
“We get in early,” Brown said of he and his coaching staff’s routine over the past three days. “We communicate throughout the night. We share ideas as games unfold.”
He meets with the staff members who manage the offense. And he does the same thing with the staff in charge of the defense. Then the staff looks at analytics as part of what are compartmentalized days of getting ready for the next round. Brown said each of the meetings help the Sixers study a game plan for each potential opponent and delivering it.
“As I’ve said many times, you really need to get a game-plan foundation correct,” he said. “You don’t want to be second-guessing or pivoting out of massive-type changes in Game 4 [of the semifinals round].”
The Sixers do want to come up with a Plan B. They just don’t want it to be “too off point.” If it is, they believe that will confuse their players, especially their young ones.
So that’s why they’ve been doing their homework, laying the ground work and coming up with a game plan since beating the Heat.
Instead of practicing, the Sixers used Friday as a maintenance day. The team will practice on Saturday and Sunday in preparation for the next round.
Because they don’t know their opponent, the staff’s game planning with the players has been vanilla. The coaches will focus on things at practice and in video sessions that the team can get better at regardless of the opponent
“No matter who you play, this is a ‘this is what we have to do better’ type stuff, to get granular and start digging into what we we call KYP– know your personnel — to start getting into schematic things with ‘here is their crutch time.’ But we don’t go there yet,” Brown said. “We are not that arrogant to predict this is for sure what is going to happen.”
However, the schemes have been calculated by tilting some guess work that would be common denominators regardless of if their next opponent is Boston or Milwaukee.