Doc Rivers Confirmed Matisse Thybulle Won’t Play In Toronto During The Playoffs

The Philadelphia 76ers were locked into the 4-seed in the East on Sunday night when the Boston Celtics blew out the Grizzlies in Memphis, meaning the Sixers will face the Raptors in the first round.

That is an incredibly interesting series for a variety of reasons, including being a rematch of a thrilling second round series in 2019, but on the minds of many was the status of Sixers defensive ace Matisse Thybulle, who missed their most recent game in Toronto due to Canada’s vaccine requirement for entering the country. Against a wing heavy team like the Raptors, Thybulle’s presence is very important for the Sixers on the defensive end, and being without him for road games in the playoffs would be a considerable disadvantage for the Sixers.

Thybulle needed to remedy his unvaccinated status within the last week to be eligible for Games 3 and 4 in Toronto next weekend, but Doc Rivers confirmed after a win over Detroit on Sunday that has not happened and they will be without him.

That certainly makes it imperative the Sixers hold homecourt in the first two games of the series, as yielding homecourt advantage to Toronto would mean they’d have to get a win without Thybulle on the road. While he isn’t one of their three most important players, his defensive presence is huge for the Sixers and allows them to do more switching and have more versatility on that end. Without him, Philly will have to adapt their coverages, and while they will at least have some time to come up with an approach, it’s not the ideal situation.

Somewhat ironically, one of the reasons James Harden reportedly wanted out of Brooklyn was fear of facing Toronto in the playoffs with Kyrie Irving not budging from his stance on getting vaccinated, and now on his new team Harden finds himself in that exact situation of playing the Raptors and being shorthanded for road games. Philly has a week-plus to come up with their plan of attack and rotations without Thybulle, but if things go poorly on the road, particularly on the defensive end, Sixers fans aren’t likely to be pleased with Thybulle’s refusal to get the vaccine.