After a hairy, one-point win at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, Brett Brown was asked if he felt like his Sixers were “playing with fire” based on the competitiveness of these early season games.
“It’s a blowtorch and it is violent,” said the head ball coach in response.
That drew a couple of of laughs among reporters, but it’s true and concerning. The Sixers couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from three point range and stumbled their way to a five-point third quarter deficit that resulted in grumbling and boos from the home crowd. After buckling down in the fourth quarter, they were able to gut out a win on the strength of a well-executed sideline play and some scrappy loose ball scrambles, plus a pivotal jump ball to regain possession with less than 30 seconds on the clock.
A win is a win, and you’ll typically take it any way you can get it on the front side of a November back-to-back, but the Sixers’ offense should worry you. They shot 8-38 from three last night (21%) and turned the ball over 10 times in the second half alone. They only went to the free throw line 13 times and didn’t transform into the “smash mouth, bully ball” team we know they can be until midway through the final stanza, when Joel Embiid starting throwing his body on the floor as the defense and intensity was ratcheted up a few notches.