J.B. Bickerstaff goes against everything he believes in while delivering robust advice for Philadelphia 76ers

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff had an interesting take on how the Philadelphia 76ers should attack the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Bickerstaff joined ESPN’s “Get Up” to discuss how the team can get star guard James Harden going after his rough performance in Monday’s loss.

“They need to get in transition more and set more screens in the backcourt,” Bickerstaff said of the 76ers. “And I’m going to say something that goes against everything I believe in. They need to play smaller. Spread the floor out more, find all of their shooters, put all of their shooters on the floor. Their athletes, let them get up and down and create space for them.”

Even though Bickerstaff doesn’t believe in going small, he clearly sees it as a way for the Sixers to have an advantage in this series.

Harden struggled a bit in Game 1, as he was only able to register four free-throw attempts and disappeared in the second half after the Sixers led Miami at halftime.

The 10-time All-Star was held to just 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field (2-for-7 from beyond the arc). Harden also added nine rebounds and five assists for the Sixers.

Bickerstaff deployed a ton of big lineups with the Cavs this season, as he featured Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen all on the floor together.

However, with the Sixers playing without Joel Embiid, they may have a better chance of taking on Miami if they can put more speed and shooting on the floor in this series.

The 2021-22 season has been a rough one for Harden, as he shot just 41.0 percent from the field in the regular season, which is the second-worst mark of his career.

The Sixers and Heat square off in Game 2 of the series on Wednesday, May 4 from FTX Arena in Miami. It will be interesting to see if Sixers head coach Doc Rivers has any of the same thoughts as Bickerstaff and changes his lineup in Game 2.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.