Matt Slocum/Associated Press
While the 76ers were without center Joel Embiid,OddsShark listed Philadelphia as a 10-point favorite entering the night.
Looking at the box score, it’s clear why the significant underdog won. Not only did Atlanta win the battle of the boards 44-30, but the Hawks also poured in 62 points in the paint sans Embiid.
After the game, tensions ran high as point guard Ben Simmons said the team was “too soft,” perESPN:
“I just don’t think we’re physical enough. I think defensively, we’re not taking it personal enough when guys score on us. It should be a pride thing when somebody scores; you should be frustrated every time. … I think we have to expect more from each other to get better and get to that next level. ‘Cause I know once playoff time comes, it’s another level.”
The remarks were in response to a query about whether Simmons thought “physicality” was the problem. TeammateJimmy Butler, however, had a different take when informed about Simmons’ comments.
“I don’t like the word ‘soft.’ I just don’t think that we did what we were supposed to do,” he said. “I’m not gonna say that anybody’s soft. I just think that we got beat in every aspect of the game. They came out from the jump and did what they wanted to do, and they did that for 48 straight minutes.”
Jimmy Butler on his assessment of the Sixers https://t.co/rIoJLGNuNp
Head coach Brett Brown was not impressed by the team’s defensive effort:
Brett Brown on the Sixers defense: “It is so disappointing. It is so disappointing. You know, we have to own it, I have to own it, and we have to find a way to generate more of a commitment on that end.”
Philadelphia has lost two straight games and allowed an average of 120.3 points in its last three. Despite the losing streak, the 76ers (27-16) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while the Hawks (13-29) sit in 12th and have the fifth-worst record in theNBA.