Every Sixers Loss = “The Sky is Falling”

Photo Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bad Sixers loss on Saturday night. Joel Embiid tried to be Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Butler pick and rolled himself into a shot clock violation, which I actually do not think was his fault.

All teams suffer crap losses (the Mavericks beat the Warriors by 35 on the same night), but this one was particularly egregious, considering that the Sixers had two days of rest and the Hawks aren’t great, even though they’ve been a better team since the All-Star break.

I tried not to, but I typed “Brett Brown” into the Twitter search bar around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

This popped up near the top:

“Fire Brett Brown. enough is enough. This dude is the least inventive coach in the world. He doesn’t know how to utltize the talent he has on the team. The players individually carry the team… Brett Brown offers nothing! We lost to the Bulls… and now Hawks!”

As did this:

“Brett Brown is a horrible late game coach. Just because Jimmy Butler is a closer doesn’t mean he has to close every game. Take advantage of matchups. Post up Joel and draw fouls. Can’t lose games like this. Got to be smarter. Bad coaching as always.

This isn’t a Brett Brown article, though I would agree that Joel Embiid needed to see more of the ball Saturday night. 11 field goal attempts in 35 minutes is waaaaay too few for him.

But I think the second tweeter is being a bit near-sighted, since Brett did exactly what he’s talking about in the Boston game. He identified the small forward/power forward pick and roll that isolated Kyrie Irving on Jimmy Butler and resulted in the Sixers executing on a number of late game possessions in one of their most important wins of the season.

In the Hawks game, they did the exact same thing to Trae Young at the 1:08 mark, which resulted in this, after the jump:

That’s your biggest mismatch available, getting Butler on Young. This is what won them the game against Boston, isolating Butler on a weak perimeter defender.

So they tried doing it again on the next half court offensive possession, not the quick outlet and Butler free throws, but the shot clock violation which went like this:


The Hawks played it differently.

They didn’t switch there. They doubled Butler by taking John Collins off Ben Simmons and leaving him unguarded in the corner, and that’s where Ben’s inability to shoot the ball makes him a huge liability down the stretch if he’s not a ball-handler or screener.

Look at this:

Simmons and Tobias Harris have to recognize that and show to the ball, instead of letting Butler just flail around trying to shed that double team to get a shot off. In a micro sense, that’s on the players. NBA players should be able to see that in real time and adjust. In a macro sense, Brett has to think about Ben as a non-threat when he’s shoved in the corner on these late game pick and roll and iso sets. Jimmy also has to see where the second defender is coming from and identify where the Sixers’ 2v1 is.

But the article is more about putting things in perspective, because I feel like Sixers Twitter overreacts to every loss and under-reacts to every win. That’s Philly in general, but it seems like it’s more amplified in basketball for some reason.

Consider this:

  1. The Sixers are 47-26 and on pace to win more games than they won last season
  2. They are 6-1 over their last seven games, with wins against Indiana, Boston, and Milwaukee
  3. The wins over the Celtics and Bucks really helped combat the idea that they just can’t get over the hump against the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
  4. They will be the #3 seed in the playoffs. They are 2.5 games ahead of Indy with the tiebreaker and they are 4.5 ahead of Boston, who just lost their fourth straight game.
  5. They are not catching Toronto and Milwaukee and never were catching either of those teams. If anything, the Raptors had the better shot at jumping the banged-up Bucks, which I don’t think is going to happen now. That would have set up a 2/3 Sixers/Milwaukee series, which I personally think benefits Philly.
  6. The current starting lineup has played fewer than 10 games together.
  7. The Sixers were not going to win 16 in a row to close out the season.
  8. This time last year, Joel Embiid was going through the broken face and Phantom of the Opera mask routine. Now he’s healthy.
  9. This time last year, four of five Sixers starters had zero postseason experience. This year, all five starters have playoff experience.
  10. This time last year, the head coach had never coached a playoff game. That is no longer the case.
  11. This time last year, the playoff bench was Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, and T.J. McConnell. This season, it’s James Ennis, Mike Scott, and Boban if you get a favorable matchup. It’s not amazing, but I think it’s a slight defensive improvement over what you had off the pine last year.

Let’s keep it positive for now. There’s way too much negative Sixers talk out there, considering that this team is gonna win 50 games for the second straight year, which is something they haven’t done since the mid-1980s.

Brett Brown was never getting fired in the middle of the season. Surely you had to know that. We’ll see how this team does in the playoffs, and if they get trounced 4-2 or 4-1 against Toronto or Milwaukee, we can talk about Brett’s future then, but enough with the knee-jerk overreaction to every loss. This team is on a good trajectory and they will enter the playoffs with a chance to make the Eastern Conference Finals.

Try to enjoy the ride, or else what’s the point of even watching sports in the first place?

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16 Responses

  1. I thought Boban was dead. That’s the way the big oaf acted when he got injured.

    What a soft player. Perfect for this soft team.

  2. I’d like an article on the thorough beating Villanova the King of Prussia school that is soooooooooooooooo Philly took over the weekend

  3. Honestly, to me winning or losing doesn’t matter at all. I just want to see the team having fun and good sportsmanship all around! Is it Friday yet? Lol.

    – Kate

  4. That game was a classic let-down game scenario and they got trapped. I would fully expect a drubbing of Orlando tonight, and if that doesn’t happen then it would be time to raise an eyebrow.

  5. Come on Kyle!

    We want to hear about the achievers getting beat. It’s not fair to us to avoid it.

    Lol. You rich kids didn’t win this year.

    Be back later. Circling the block – looking for parking.

  6. It’d be different if every game wasn’t a nail biter. Yes, they’ll most likely be the 3 seed. Yes, they have a top 5 record in the league. But watching them this year hasn’t been easy. The frustration stems from the fact that they play to the level of their competition EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. A comfortable win would be appreciated every once in a while (their last was February 13 vs the Knicks)

  7. …he should be held accountable, for losses, especially this bad, this late in the year…
    especcially when its the same things….

    1)There is no defense played by this team, especially on gaurds, add tre young to list of the other guards who have had career nights against this d.
    2)you better hope its detroit in the first round, or this team is cooked…only team in playoffs without stable backcourt except for the Pacers and thats because they lost Oladipo.

    Remember what the nets already did to this team this year…


  8. The fact that they can’t get up for games like this; the fact that they are plagued by the same flaws and mistakes they were at the beginning of LAST season; the fact that they play down to their competition and we could all see this loss coming a mile away; the fact that they are an absolute sieve defensively, to name a few… are all direct reflections on the coach. You can spin it any way you want, or make all the excuses in the world (and lord knows you’re far from alone — seen the Sixers subreddit lately?) , but this was an inexcusable loss. And all the people who say “oh calm down, it’s just one game” are going to be awfully stunned when they get absolutely curb-stomped by Toronto in round 2, or even lose to the Nets in the first round.

      1. YOU SHOULD BE…

        Its not about the seedings.

        The Sixers have a far better starting 5 then the Raptors–in a 7 game series, they should win easily, if the coach approaches how he uses them properly, especially with a shorter bench.

  9. the Sixers have not had back to back 50 win seasons in over 30 years! People need to stfu and let the season play out. I’ve never seen so many yo yo opinions about a coach or a team as I have for this team. They beat the good teams like the Warriors, the Rockets, the Bucks, the Celtics, and it’s all Embiid or Butler, etc., but when they lose to a bad team, the coach sucks.

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