Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Dan Burke found himself in a tough spot on Thursday when he had to serve as the team’s head coach against the Brooklyn Nets. Coach Doc Rivers went into health and safety protocols Thursday morning and Burke had to take on the coaching duties at that time.
In his third career game as a head coach – he’s done it twice with the Indiana Pacers – Burke earned his first career 110-102 victory over the Nets on the road. It was an impressive overall victory as the Sixers had to secure a victory under difficult circumstances.
“I’m just happy for these guys,” said Burke. “We have about four days before we play again. To get that victory, build that momentum, and I don’t know what the protocols are going to allow in terms of practice, but it’s something that I think we can all look at and say “We’re better when we’re like this. against this’ and this is stronger and we just have to build that. That’s what Doc built.
While Burke will deflect the praise, he has his players honk for him. Joel Embiid paid tribute to Burke while recalling the time Burke said he hated Embiid for the number of fouls he made while with the Pacers.
“I always come back to before he was on our coaching staff, to how he hated me before,” Embiid said with a laugh. “The stuff he said. It’s funny. It’s the same with fans too, when someone isn’t playing for your team it’s easy to hate. When you’re on the same team, you appreciate it even more. I think that’s what I see with him.
After the win, the Sixers gave Burke a bath. They sprayed him with lots of water bottles to celebrate his first victory as a coach.
“For him to step in and do what he did today on short notice was great,” said Andre Drummond. “It is a testament to how good a coach he really is despite being an assistant and getting involved and being able to run the show and give us the tools we have.” need to be excellent. It was really good for us.
Burke was Rivers’ defensive coordinator while in Philadelphia and he was a positive influence on the team. It’s clear he has respect for the Sixers despite the fact that Rivers is obviously running the show there.
“He was great in our defense and fair as a voice,” Embiid added. “He’s been in the NBA for a long time. We are extremely happy for him.
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