Jacque Vaughn speaks pregame quotes on the challenge of facing a revamped Sixers squad, Dennis Smith Jr.’s late scratch, and more.
The Brooklyn Nets are preparing to take an a Philadelphia 76ers team that’s sprinted out to a 9-3 start — only the Boston Celtics have a better record to start the season. Prior to Sunday afternoon’s action, Jacque Vaughn addressed the media to address various topics, inevitably including an injury update.
Editor’s note: Not all questions/answers from the press conference are in this article.
Q: What do you see when you watch this Philadelphia 76ers team on tape?
JV: Just a team that’s playing at a high level. They have a lot of components that you have to deal with starting with a big who can command to paint on both ends of the floor, has an ability to get to the free throw line, so that puts a lot of pressure on your defense. And then a point guard who is playing extremely well, playing with pace, playing with confidence, really leading the ballclub. Getting downhill, but also has the ability to make tough shots and playing extremely well. So, a tough task tonight Meghan.
Q: Dennis Smith Jr. has been ruled out with a “lower back sprain,” how’s he feeling?
JV: So, he practiced yesterday, you know, after I [saw] you guys. He practiced yesterday — wasn’t a tough practice — but he reported that it just wasn’t feeling right after practice. So he got some treatment at night and tried to come in, assess him this morning, tried to go through a little bit of warm-up and see if he could play. So we’re technically diagnosing as a sprain. He will not play tonight.
Q: In the Miami game, it seems that 14-0 run to end the first half, you could say it was a back breaker. What was your message to your players to try and prevent substantial runs like that from happening?
JV: Yeah it’s interesting. You take a look at that we ended up being down eight and really the execution at the end of that was the culprit a little bit. We were going two for one in that situation. We ended up turning the basketball over and allowed them to get out on the break. We allowed them to get an easy rebound and kick out for another shot throughout the course of that full stretch. That put us down eight. I think the biggest message to the group during that time is finishing course. There’s momentum, I think, shifts that happen throughout the course of the game. You don’t want those at the end of the quarter, especially going into halftime.