There is very little time to appreciate accomplishments during the NBA playoffs.
When the buzzer sounded at the end of the 76ers' series-clinching win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, the team joined coach Brett Brown in the locker room. Brown shared heartfelt words, JJ Redick congratulated the coach on his first playoff series win, the team doused the coach in water and chocolate milk, and then the celebrating was over.
"Right after we finished celebrating in the locker room, I was trying to figure out who won the [Boston-Milwaukee] game because we played the same night," Joel Embiid said Thursday after practice.
The Celtics beat the Bucks that night, taking a 3-2 series lead. The Bucks evened the series once again on Thursday with a 97-86 win in Game 6. The Sixers now await the Game 7 outcome between the Celtics and Bucks; the game will be played Saturday in Boston.
Even though their opponent hadn't been decided, any celebrating was short-lived, and the Sixers weren't going to waste any time.
Brown said he enjoyed the moment in the locker room with his team, but as soon as he got home Tuesday night he was thinking about things that he wished he could have done and things that he was glad the team did. Ultimately, though, he was focusing in on how the team can improve and possibly bring a championship to Philadelphia.
"I'm the son of a basketball coach and I've been around the game my entire life so it just never goes away," he said. "That should be heard in a good way. I love what I do."
Using as much as possible from the Miami series — responding to physicality, sets that worked and didn't work — the Sixers were preparing for either outcome. The team went through a few offensive and defensive sets in practice, but with the next opponent unknown, it was back to the basics.
"It is better if somebody says 'you're playing so-and-so,' and then we just bunker into a war room," Brown said. "Because you don't know who you're going to play, you don't have that luxury of time. So you choose, no matter who you play, you better get back in transition defense and you better rebound."