The Philly players were embraced by a very special guest on Tuesday night at their team dinner, which was none other than a mentalist! The idea was apparently thought out by Coach Brett Brown, who believed that performing card tricks and doing “mind-reading exercises” by the mentalist will prep the boys well before the match, as per Ian Begley of ESPN.com.
This probably came from the coach as Philly dropped into a 3-0 series pit against the Boston Celtics in its second-round NBA playoff series, but the Sixers won Game 4 and will see forward to shove the series back to Philadelphia by hoping to win Game 5 on Wednesday night at the TD Garden.
“He does some pretty incredible stuff,” point guard T.J. McConnell said. “… It was just fun. Brett does a good job of that, not having a real businesslike dinner. It was more calm and funny.”
The Mentalist not only executed card tricks brilliantly but also succeeded in accurately guessing some of the identity of the players’ ex-girlfriend names. (However, one possible reason, could be that our ‘mentalist’ had access to Google prior his show)
“I’m a skeptic,” shooting guard JJ Redick said, though he further said: “The [tricks] are all good. He was fun.”
“He was smooth,” veteran forward Amir Johnson added.
Ironically, the Sixers are hoping to get some ‘magic’ of their own, at least on the court; considering the fact that no team has ever recovered from a 3 – 0 deficit in a best of seven series before. So fortunately enough, if the Phillys can beat the Celtics in Game 5 of their second-round series on Wednesday night, they’d be able to hop an inch closer to their target.
“We have a game plan that we’re confident in, we have a rotation that we believe in, and they have a spirit still to move this thing forward,” Coach Brett Brown said. “We want to go back to Philadelphia [for Game 6].”
Brown plans on keeping McConnell for the starting lineup. The 26-year-old Pittsburgh native had 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in his first playoff beginning in Game 4, streaking Philadelphia to a 103-92 win. He was also successful in blocking Celtics guard Terry Rozier for 11 points on 4 – 11 shooting.
Coach Brown defended the team’s prior performance in the series by saying he liked the spirit of the team in which they were playing.
So if the Sixers really need to up their game by trying to score another point in the series, they will have to find some tactics to pace down rookie Jason Tatum on Wednesday night. Tatum has a strong average of 23 points on 58 percent shooting in the series.
Brown said that they have McConnell, Ben Simmons, and Robert Covington to defend Tatum during stretches of Game 5.
Brown has received many appraisals from his team in the form of McConnell and others for generating a soothing ambiance before Game 5 by having the mentalist amongst them. Interestingly, this is the same magician who has been with the Sixers through a road trip last season.