The Philadelphia 76ers are preparing to close out their First Round series against the Brooklyn Nets after taking a commanding 3-0 lead.

However, the Nets haven’t made it easy for the Sixers, playing with a high level of confidence, energy, and staying true to themselves as players in what’s been a legitimately entertaining battle amongst teams with such a disparity in star power.

Consequently, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers offers a stern warning to his team as they look to advance to the next round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs:

“You’ve got to take care of your business. Don’t play with your meat” (h/t Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice).

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With the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 54-28, the presumed 2023 NBA MVP favorite in All-Star center Joel Embiid, one of the best facilitators in the league in 10-time All-Star selection James Harden, and a championship-winning head coach in Rivers, Philadelphia is supposed to be leading Brooklyn in this series.

Because the Nets opted to trade Harden (to the Sixers), Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant in exchange for a combination of young players and draft capital, Brooklyn is probably supposed to be down 3-0. In fact, considering their 11-13 record after the All-Star Break, the Nets were primarily in position to make a playoff run because of what Kyrie and KD had done prior to being traded.

Nonetheless, with Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson leading the way for a feisty Brooklyn squad, all that matters for the Sixers for the rest of the series is heeding Doc’s words.

Don’t play with their food, lest they find themselves with more than one game remaining in this series.