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Doc Rivers gets earful from 76ers fans; Bucks get last word

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Doc Rivers on return to Philly: 'It was awesome' (0:30)

Doc Rivers responds to how it felt to be back in Philadelphia, now as the coach of the Bucks. (0:30)

PHILADELPHIA -- Doc Rivers wasn't sure what kind of reception he would receive in his return to Philadelphia, eight months after the 76ers dismissed him as coach.

"Do they give coaches big receptions?" Rivers said before his new team, the Milwaukee Bucks, beat Philadelphia 119-98 on Sunday.

When a reporter told Rivers he was different, he acknowledged the validity of the statement but noted he still hadn't thought much about it. However, the crowd in Philadelphia came prepared, delivering a resounding chorus of boos when Rivers' name was announced before tipoff.

"I didn't even hear it, to be honest," Rivers said with a smile after the game. "That means I was back at home."

Despite the chilly reception, Rivers had nothing but positive takeaways from his tenure with the Sixers, which ended after three seasons. He went 154-82 as Philadelphia's coach, but lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals in all three seasons and was fired in May.

"I'm happy with it overall, I just wish we could've gone further," Rivers said. "I wish we could have had a chance to have Joel [Embiid] healthy in the playoffs.

"But overall, Joel became an MVP, and we established this team as a championship contender. That wasn't said the year before. And under a lot of stuff. You think about it, we had the James Harden trade, the Ben [Simmons] stuff. Some was under my control, some was out of my control, but overall, for me, if you don't win a title, you're never exactly happy. That's why we all do this."

Once the ball tipped, the Bucks overwhelmed the Sixers, who were playing their 11th straight game without Embiid, who had a knee procedure earlier this month.

Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard combined to score or assist on 82 of Milwaukee's 119 points. Brook Lopez added five blocks.

The Bucks scored 69 points in the first half, their most in any half since Rivers took over late last month. They also held the Sixers to 16 points in the final quarter. It marked a second straight victory coming out of the All-Star break for Milwaukee, which won in Minnesota on Friday night.

"Carryover -- that's got to be a key word for us," said Antetokounmpo, who finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. "I feel like we're feeling like ourselves. Playing hard, move the ball, we are defending better. We're just playing hard."

Rivers was asked before the game about Philadelphia's Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics in last year's conference semifinals, but he said he hadn't spent much time reflecting on it.

"I'll put it [this] way: Going into the series last year, who picked the Sixers?" Rivers asked rhetorically. "That's the point. Yet, we had them down 3-2 and had a chance. The game we should've won was the Game 6. Game 7s are tough everywhere. But we did something to get there.

"It just tells you how close we were. I look back on that and think, Joel wasn't 100% last year. Things happen and you just live with them."

The Bucks are now 5-7 under Rivers. And unlike the fans in Philly, Antetokounmpo was willing to voice his support for his new coach.

"I love him," Antetokounmpo said. "It's been incredible playing for him. He just explains to me, what he wants from me. You respect him because he's been 25 years in the league ... you've got to respect what he's done in the league, won a championship, won a lot of games, but when he comes in the locker room, he keeps it simple."