Sixers Star reveals reason for offensive woes after Hawks loss
The Philadelphia 76ers are a bit confused in case you haven’t noticed. Let’s be honest, COVID-19 and the Omicron variant have reset their roster to training camp status. The team were forced to give meaningful minutes to Tyler Johnson, a guy who signed the junkyard 24 hours before kickoff against the Atlanta Hawks.
It would be easy to blame the global pandemic for a 98-96 loss to Atlanta on Thursday night. Or for a record 5-5 in December. It would be the perfect excuse if all the other teams in the NBA weren’t facing the same problem. Atlanta entered the game with six players due to COVID-19 protocols; Philadelphia scored four for the same reason.
“You have [Atlanta] took out guys, so did we. It was all kind of a story anomaly, ”Sixers forward Tobias Harris (16 points, 5 of 14) said. “Just to be honest with all of the other NBA teams that are going through this stuff right now. Protocols and the like. I don’t think we’re neglecting them or not with the guys they’ve dated.
“The way we started the game is hard to believe really. I personally know that when entering the game, they come out of a consecutive game, we needed more energy to start this game. More pop for us, and we didn’t.
(Editor’s note: Danny Green, Andre Drummond, Shake Milton, Georges Niang all missed the game for Philly due to COVID-19. Atlanta was down Trae Young, Clint Capela, Kevin Huerter, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot).
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Tobias Harris Dunks on his own shopping cart
If you wanted to pick a game that has summed up the Sixers ‘2021-22 season so far, look no further than Harris’ advice on his own basket. It’s true. The 6-foot-8 star forward saw a rebound opportunity turn into two for the Hawks with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
Gorgui Dieng got the credit for the bucket, but Harris knocked him down. It was the kind of game that happened so fast it didn’t feel real. That is, until Twitter crushes the fairy tale.
Harris did not comment on his epic failure, although he was quick to assess what was generally wrong. The Sixers’ inability to stay with their men in defense – Ben Simmons, anyone? – and getting back into transition thwarted their offensive exit. As good as Matisse Thybulle was for them, it was difficult to get saves and force quick breaks at the other end.
“I think the general theme for us throughout the year is basically when our offensive execution lacks when our defense isn’t up to par,” said Harris. “Prevents us from going out and running in the open air. When we have to take the ball out each time, it forces the other team to be defensively on the half court and choose how they want to play their defense on the half court against our attack.
Sixers drop to seventh place in Eastern Conference
Philadelphia fell to seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a 16-16 record. This is certainly not the way Doc Rivers and the company envisioned it. And Simmons doesn’t appear to be walking through that door anytime soon, as business rumors continue to swirl. Head coach Doc Rivers appeared to indicate the Sixers are missing Simmons’ presence as the team leader.
They need to find ways to move the ball better and hit open shots, especially when Joel Embiid (23 points, 6 of 17 from the field) is struggling – well, by his high standards. The Sixers shot 41.3% (33 of 80) from the field against Atlanta, including 22.2% (6 of 27) from a three-point field.
“The shots were there, the energy wasn’t there,” Rivers said. “The pace was not, the speed was not, the overtaking was not, we did not play the game at all two tonight. again, we didn’t deserve to win the game.
Embiid’s “bad game” was still good enough for a 23-point high against Atlanta. Tyrese Maxey scored 17 points in 34 minutes despite coming off the bench. Harris scored 16 points and Seth Curry added 12 points in the losing effort.
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