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76ers vs. Nets: Doc Rivers Praises Tobias Harris' Toughness

After battling through numerous setbacks, Tobias Harris helped lead the 76ers to an upset win over the Nets on Tuesday.

Prior to Tuesday night’s matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris missed the previous two matchups due to hip soreness.

After returning to the practice court on Monday morning, Harris seemed on pace to play on Tuesday after being upgraded to probable for the matchup.

The Sixers needed all the reinforcements they could get for Tuesday’s game. Considering Joel Embiid was ruled out for the next two games along with James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers lacked several starters going into a game against Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and the Brooklyn Nets.

Thirty minutes before the Sixers and the Nets tipped off, Harris was cleared for action.

“Before the game [I wasn’t] one hundred percent,” admitted Harris. “I wasn’t allowing us to go out there with four starters on the bench.”

In the first half of Tuesday’s game between the Sixers and the Nets, Harris checked in for 15 minutes. He was quiet to start the night, as he drained just three of his eight shots for six points.

Coming out in the second half, Harris turned up his production. As he chucked up six shots from the field in eight minutes, Harris produced eight points in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the veteran forward suffered an ankle injury, which forced him to limp his way back to the locker room.

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“I didn't see the injury, but I was walking, and one of the coaches was looking at me like it's bad,” said Sixers head coach Doc Rivers. “Last thing I thought I would see was Tobias back in the game.”

Not long after exiting the court, Harris was back on the Sixers’ bench in his warmups, ready to take the floor when needed. When Harris eventually returned to the floor, he somehow looked even better than he did before injuring his ankle.

For his final ten minutes on the court, Harris took a team-leading seven shots in the fourth quarter. By knocking down three of his field goals, with one from deep, along with three of his four free throws, Harris tacked on ten points to help the Sixers put the Nets away once and for all.

“Tobias wanted to win that game, you can feel it,” Rivers continued. “For whatever reason, he wanted to win, but because of that, he was in his own way. Going back in the locker room, meditating, and whatever he did, you can see a different guy when he came back out, and that was good for us.”

Labeled as the underdogs going into Tuesday night, the Sixers got a boost from Harris, who felt motivated to snag a shorthanded win to shock the basketball world. 

“I feel like this was a huge win for us and a huge win for us to get,” Harris finished. “I knew going into the game that we were going to come out with this type of energy and this type of buzz to get up to play against a great team, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Harris put up 24 points in 33 minutes on Tuesday night. By leading his team in the scoring department, Harris’ contributions helped the Sixers pick up their ninth victory as they put the Nets away 115-106. After Tuesday’s game, the Sixers hit the road to Charlotte, as they are set to take on the Hornets on Wednesday night. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.