Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Celtics, Knicks, Raptors

During a conversation with 76ers reporters, coach Doc Rivers indicated he would like to see teams receive more time to prepare for the season.Doc Rivers Joel Embiid

“Five (preseason) games, four games, three games, I actually think that’s the right number‚” Rivers said. “I’m not really sure what the right number is, because every year it really depends on who your team is. But the week of camp is absurd to me. I think you should have more time. Two weeks would be great.”

Rivers added that another week of camp may help reduce the amount of injuries that can plague the long season.

“I think health-wise it would be smarter if we had more time,” he said.


Guard Grant Riller suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during Monday’s preseason game vs. the Raptors, and will undergo surgery, as relayed by Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Riller, 24, spent last season on a two-way contract with the Hornets. He will be reevaluated in two weeks, Pompey wrote.


New coach Ime Udoka admitted he was fired up for the Celtics’ preseason opener, a win over the Magic.

“It’s probably the most excited I’ve ever been for a preseason game. I can say that,” he said, via Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “The fact that the fans are back is a big thing. Last year in our Brooklyn series was the first time they had fans in the building here and you could feel the excitement.

“So although it’s just a preseason game for us, we do have new coaching staff, new personnel and we want to kind of get that jelling pretty quickly with only four games to play. So it’s a good vibe, we’re happy to get to playing against someone else, some different coverages than what we’ve been seeing in training camp. So I think the staff and players are both looking forward to it.”


Kemba Walker‘s first performance as a member of the Knicks went well, with New York routing the Pacers in the preseason opener.

“Just coming in, setting the tone, making the right plays,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Walker’s debut, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “The game tells you what to do and I think he reads the game extremely well. That veteran leadership, that shot-making ability, very good in the pick-and-roll, it puts a lot of pressure on you. And he’s unselfish. He gets blitzes, he’s gonna get off the ball. I thought he made the pass out of the blitz pretty effectively.’’

Walker finished with 12 points and four assists.

“Not saying I don’t get nervous but not tonight,” he said. “I felt comfortable actually. … It’s going to be a fun season.’’


Point guard Dalano Banton and small forward Justin Champagnie are two rookies who are making a strong impression early in the preseason, wrote Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Banton is actually a Toronto native and could therefore become a fan favorite if he sticks.

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