Total Meltdown – Observations from Nets 114, Sixers 109

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was pitiful.

The Sixers played a great game for about 40 some-odd minutes and then devolved into the team that collapsed in the Eastern Conference semifinals, stumbling to a putrid (and frankly unacceptable) home loss. Danny Green air balled two three pointers in crunch time, Joel Embiid’s knee was obviously bothering him, and Doc Rivers was a bystander during a couple of challenge-worthy sequences that came and went without dispute.

There’s not a ton worth rehashing after a ridiculous loss, so here’s a quick Q/A with some answers from the head coach, who should definitely not type his name into the Twitter search box:

Q: Why the offensive stagnation?

A: Ball stopped moving, it’s something we’ve really worked our butts off on and it was disappointing to see. We started walking the ball up the floor. There were 2-3 plays we didn’t execute what we worked on. The good sign is how well we played; the bad sign is we can’t finish games that way. I had to sit Joel longer than I wanted to, but we knew that going into the game… we had to get him the right rest to finish the game. I liked the game but not the last four minutes.

Q: Why not use a challenge at the end there (for either Kevin Durant sequence)?

A: We have a guy behind our bench that looks at them and he had his thumb down for all of them.

Q: What’s your philosophy with closing this year? Embiid? Harris? Hot hand on the night? 

A: We have Joel Embiid. Just like they have Harden and Durant. They’re gonna play through those guys. We’re gonna play through Joel, we’re gonna play through Tobias, and we’re gonna use Seth. It’s not rocket science. 

No, it’s not rocket science, but none of those three guys are the type of closer you really want. The Sixers don’t have a guy you just throw the ball to on the perimeter and say “get me a bucket.” Embiid can do it, but he’s a massive body and not exactly a traditional perimeter guy, even in the day and age of “positionless” basketball. Harris isn’t going to go iso and rip off his own shot. Same with Curry. And Ben Simmons isn’t that player either, so having him back doesn’t really change anything. They need somebody they can trust at the end of these games, and it looks like it’s gonna be an issue again this season.

Ugly.

Obligatory Ben Simmons section

Joel Embiid said before the game that he wanted the fans to show some support for Ben Simmons, noting that “he’s still our brother.” That directly contradicts what he said the other day about not caring about “that man,” so Joel needs to pick a lane and stay in it.

After the game, Tobias Harris said this:

Zooooooooooo

Here’s something positive from last night. The loudest I’ve heard the Wells Fargo Center for a bell ringer, possibly ever:

Andre Drummond, elite playmaker

Andre Drummond had a couple of crazy moments in this game where he looked like prime Jason Williams. The white dude who used to play for the Kings. Check this out:

A nice touch

A Big Daddy shout:

Other notes:

  • Nice to see Seth Curry be more aggressive. He shot the ball 12 times and needs to shoot double-digit field goals every game.
  • Drummond sets some crunching screens. Like full-contact screens, grown man screens.
  • A spot for Shake Milton in the rotation? Might not be there right now. The bench looks much more capable than it was last year.
  • Not sure about that technical on Embiid. I guess there was a little “extra” there, but it wasn’t egregious.
  • 38.9% on 36 three point attempts is good, and it’s closer to where they need to be in 3PA per game.
  • Embiid isn’t getting to the foul line enough. Only 12 attempts over these first two games. It was a huge part of their success last year.
  • Rivers credited Jevon Carter postgame for his off-ball defense, saying it made things hard for the Sixers.
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