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Doc Rivers called coach James Harden ‘difficult’

Doc Rivers called coach James Harden ‘difficult’

Ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season, a clip of a Philadelphia 76ers practice showed then-head coach Doc Rivers talking with James Harden about how he could help the team become unbeatable . Of course, the Sixers were decidedly beatable this year, as the team took a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Boston Celtics and entered an offseason that saw Rivers getting fired and questions arise about Harden’s long-term future. in Philadelphia.

In the aftermath of the Game 7 loss to the Celtics, Harden certainly gave the impression that his relationship with Rivers wasn’t great, as he just say their link was “ok”. Rivers hadn’t spoken much since then, but during an appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast, the now former Sixers coach explained how “difficult” it can be to coach a player like Harden.

“It was tough, more because we were fighting two things – and not like visual fights – it was James who is so good at playing in a way, and the way I think you have to play to win, in some respects, is different,” Rivers said, according to Bleacher Report. “Because it’s a lot to give up the ball, move the ball, get back on the ball. I would have liked to have had him younger, when it was easier for him because giving up the ball and getting it back c It’s hard, it’s physical, it’s exhausting.

Rivers then broke down the year into the first and second halves and said Harden’s play was the biggest differentiator of Philly’s success in the first and struggles in the second.

“So, yeah, sometimes, to get him moving and playing the way I needed him to play – I thought the first half of the year we were the best team in the game,” Rivers said. “I thought James was playing perfect basketball. He was the playmaker for the team. He was still scoring, but he was making more plays and goals. Then in the second half he started scoring more, trying to score more, and I thought that we had stagnated at times. I thought that we had changed.

Rivers was replaced by former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse as Sixers head coach.

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