All quiet on a Friday afternoon, as the Sixers still don’t have a second round opponent to prepare for.
The Bucks knocked off the Celtics on Thursday night, setting up a game seven in Boston tomorrow.
Sixers fans should probably want Milwaukee for home court advantage alone. The Celtics might be a lame duck squad playing without Kyrie Irving, but they’re better defensively and have the better coach and better crowd. Khris Middleton probably isn’t gonna continue to shoot 59.5% throughout the playoffs, so I’d think the Sixers could limit the players around Giannis and probably squeeze through in six.
But I digress. We can talk about that on Sunday.
Today the Sixers took it easy, some players doing a light workout and others just resting up. Brett Brown spent the morning going over round two preparations with his staff.
“We get in early,” the head coach said. “We communicate throughout the night. We share our ideas as games unfold. I spend a lot of time with the people who help me manage the offense. I spend a lot of time with the people who help me manage the defense. I break the staff up, very much like an NFL team with special teams, etcetera. Then we study analytics, and it’s just very holistic, it’s very compartmentalized. It lets me manage. It lets me sort of go to parts of the game that you have to be responsible for and coach and be aware of.”
Brown says it’s a vanilla approach so far, since the Sixers are playing the “wait and see” game.
“Each of those areas that I’ve said, and there are more, are responsible for helping me study and delivering a plan and us beating it around, where ultimately you come out of a room with a game plan,” he continued. “As I’ve said many times, I’ve learned, sometimes in hard ways, that you really need to get a game plan’s foundation correct. You don’t want to be second guessing or pivoting out of massive changes in game four. The objective is to lay the ground work, do your home work, come up with a game plan, and a plan B, for sure, but you can’t be too off-point with a game plan or you end up chasing. That ends up being confusing for players, especially for young players. That’s the mission. That’s what goes on and that’s what’s been going on since we beat the Miami Heat.”
Speaking of Miami, I read a bunch of stuff online about how dirty they played in round one, Twitter takes such as, “well I really hate this team now,” or “they deserve to lose because their style is an affront to basketball.”
The players don’t believe that. They all know each other. The fraternity of NBA players and coaches is very small. If you go back and watch the final whistle of game five, both teams immediately went to their counterparts for hand shakes and hugs and whatnot. The “dirty play” thing, I think, is the construct of people who don’t play sports or never did. Sometimes you get a petulant head slap (Dragic) or a frustration foul (Johnson), but Robert Covington went for a late shove in that series and Joel Embiid got Dragic with an elbow, too. I didn’t hear too much about that from Sixer fans.
Brown was asked Friday if he felt like Miami went “over the top” with some of their actions.
“No, in a crazy way I love it,” Brown replied. “What I do though, understand, and this is, I thought a step towards what we learned, but look at Ben Simmons’ reaction to Dragic hitting him in the back of the head. He didn’t react. He easily could have, as a young player, and possibly there could have been suspensions if you overreact. He did the somersault in mid air and landed on his back (the Richardson stumble and undercut). Justise Winslow crushes Joel’s mask. There’s physical play and people having to break each other up, but we didn’t cross the line. I think it’s a major testament to our team and our young players that they were able to play in an incredibly physical, ‘back at them’ way, with no back down, yet do it in a way that sort of belies their experience. They were highly competitive but they did it in a poised and mature way, and you need all of that in the playoffs.”
Here’s Simmons walking away after the Dragic slap:
I asked Brown where he draws the line between “physical” and “dirty.”
“Sometimes you can’t draw the line; sometimes they do equal each other,” he said. “I just feel like we know what that looks like. We feel like we play with the marching orders and the mantra that you’ve heard me talk about since I got the job. If you walked into the back of our weight room and locker room you’re gonna see the verbiage – Philly edge, Philly hard, Philly real. What’s that mean? All of my signage and messaging to the players in a video session, you would see those three things every day with how we sort of do coaching edits. And we have versions of what an edge is, what hard is, and what real is. I think that we walk our line well. We don’t feel like we cross the line, but this is Philadelphia, this is a blue collar city. I’ve said since we all met that I want the personality and the spirit and style of play to mirror that of the city. I think we’ve done that and I think we’ve done it in a way that hasn’t crossed lines and I hope it’s for the reasons we’ve taught and talked about.”
Philly special, part two
Not sure if you saw this clip floating around, but JJ Redick got really involved with a drawn-up play in game five:
Coach Redick? 👀 pic.twitter.com/QL2D03bX81
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 25, 2018
Brown appears to taking Redick’s words into consideration ala Doug Pederson and Nick Foles, and he was asked about that video clip today, and how often it happens.
“Not often, but when they do (speak up) I always listen,” Brown explained. “They play the game, they see it, they feel it. And when JJ wants to change a little bit of an angle and says, ‘two plays ago, they did this, I think I can do this instead of that,’ more times than not I’m going to say, ‘fine.’ Right? You see it, you feel it, you play it, let’s do it. That’s just the communication I want to have with my guys. I respect my guys. If I don’t think it, we won’t do it, but more often than not, when somebody has something to say, for sure we’ll listen. Oftentimes we’ll do it.”
You want Philly Philly?
Yea let’s do it.