Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers thought the NBA should have postponed the Sixers and Denver Nuggets game after Philadelphia had only seven healthy players for the game. The Sixers found themselves in an uncomfortable spot as some of their players were dealing with injuries, while some were in the NBA's health and safety protocols.
"I don't think we should [play], but it's not for me to express that," Rivers said, when asked whether he believed the game should be played before short-handed Philadelphia lost 115-103 to Denver. "I do worry about our player health on the floor."
The Sixers were missing a number of players and their biggest star but still they avoided a blowout and instead put up a decent effort against the Nuggets. After the game, Sixers coach Rivers gave credit and praised the seven guys who suited up for Philadelphia.
"I think, even though they believe it, I think they need verification sometimes they are NBA players, some of these guys," Rivers said in praising the effort of his undermanned team after the game. "You could see it as it went on.
Isaiah Joe, I think he's going to be a terrific player, and you could see him settling down, getting his legs. Paul Reed, same thing. So, for those guys, it was just great."
The 76ers were missing Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid
Though Simmons and Embiid were listed on injury report, they didn't play the game.
After the game, Rivers revealed that Simmons was held out of the game due to a knee issue, while Embiid was dealing with a back issue. "Yeah, but it has nothing to do with them just not playing," Rivers said. "Ben, in the Brooklyn game, had some knee stiffness, and so we almost probably knew after the game that he wouldn't play tonight.
And then Joel started complaining about his back over the last -- at the start of yesterday. We didn't know if he was playing or not. But honestly, with the minutes we would have to ask, it would be insane to play him tonight."
In the absence of the Sixers' top stars, rookie guard Tyrese Maxey scored a career-high 39 points to keep Philadelphia in distance against the Nuggets. "I was really just trying to do what I can to win," Maxey said. "I knew I was going to have to do more than I usually do."