The Philadelphia 76ers made quick work of the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of their first round playoff series on Thursday night. What they had more trouble with was figuring out who cut the cheese.
TNT flashed to the Sixers’ bench during the fourth quarter of their 131-115 win. Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson and Zhaire Smith were all inactive for the game and sitting on the bench when a foul smell seemed to creep up. They then acted like some guys trying to figure out who farted:
Ok, who farted? pic.twitter.com/OCWeZesPvC
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) April 19, 2019
The reactions from many of the players were emphatic, except for one: Amir Johnson. Either he has clogged sinuses in addition to a knee injury or … we may have our culprit.
This is still a much better bench activity for them than what happened over the weekend.
- Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers began their postseason run with a home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, and they once again played poorly for stretches in the first half of Game 2 on Monday night. With his team clinging to a one-point lead at halftime, Sixers head coach Brett Brown had seen enough.
After Philly allowed the Nets to attempt 23 three-pointers in the first half, Brown was so disgusted with his team’s defensive effort that he unloaded on them in the locker room. Rich Hoffman of The Athletic says five Sixers players agreed it was the angriest they had ever seen their coach. Jimmy Butler had nothing but positive things to say about the rant.
“Yeah, he came in here, said a few cuss words, shocked me a little bit to tell you the truth. But I like it, that’s the type of energy I love,” Butler said. “He just made sure everybody did their job, letting them know you can’t have it, it’s not winning basketball.
“I love the s—. I love when people get cussed out, yelled at and say, ‘You can’t do it, it’s your fault.’ I’m all for it.”
Mike Scott said cussing players out and holding them accountable is “good basketball.” Tobias Harris, who made a defensive mistake that led to an open three-pointer for Spencer Dinwiddie in the first half, was also all for it.
“We came out and we responded to it and that was a big step for us as a team, coming out of the locker room responding (to) what coach had to say,” Harris said. “Get stops on the defensive end and get that to fuel our offense. And that was the key to the game for us.”
Whatever Brown said, it worked. The 76ers tied an NBA playoff record with 51 points in the third quarter and completely took over the game. Between the poor defensive effort and the cell phone incident he had to deal with in Game 1, Brown obviously reached his boiling point. It’s a good thing he did.
The Philadelphia 76ers got embarrassed at home in Game 1 of their first round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, losing 111-102 in a game where they pretty much trailed by double digits the entire way. The home crowd was on them early, booing at various points throughout the game, including when Ben Simmons missed two free throws in the third quarter.
Simmons was not a huge factor. He finished the game with only nine points, but most of those came on open, assisted dunks after the game outcome was largely decided in the fourth quarter. He had three assists to go with three turnovers, and that marks his career low in the postseason. Simmons has been an all-around stat sheet stuffer who does a little bit of everything as a tall point guard, except, well, shoot from outside. But in the postseason, good teams can take things away and expose weaknesses. It happened again.
After the game, Simmons was not feeling the home crowd. Here’s what he had to say:
“If you’re a #Sixers fan and you’re gonna boo, stay on that side” @BenSimmons25 with a message to the Boo Birds after the @sixers we’re embarrassed in Game 1 of the #NBAPlayoffs @6abc pic.twitter.com/hD3vF3Llq5
— Jamie Apody (@JamieApody) April 13, 2019
Jimmy Butler, described by head coach Brett Brown during the broadcast as “the adult in the room,” was the only member of the 76ers who really showed up, as his 36 points easily led the team (only Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic were also in double digit scoring).
Philadelphia already came into the playoffs with some uncertainty thanks to Embiid’s injury status. He ended up playing in Game 1, going 24 minutes, but he was clearly not at 100 percent and had to take some frequent breaks, even once caught checking messages on a phone.
Simmons, meanwhile, is going to be a lightning rod after these fan comments after a game where he finished with a team-worst -21 in plus/minus (along with J.J. Redick). That continues a troubling trend from last postseason. In last year’s Celtics series, Simmons was -63 in a five-game series where the Celtics only outscored the 76ers by 15 total points.
Philadelphia finished the game by shooting only three of 25 from three-point range. If you are going to draw up how the Nets are going to win this series, it will be by Philadelphia struggling from distance and failing to play team defense with determination, and the fans turning against them. The Brooklyn Nets are in many ways the anti-76ers. They don’t have a bunch of home grown top picks thanks to undertaking a process, and they did not add an All-NBA player in Jimmy Butler. They have a bunch of guys who other teams gave up on, and yet everyone contributed and the their bench in Game 1 scored a whopping 59 points.
Suddenly, Game 2 looms very large already as a referendum on this group of players in Philadelphia, and on whether Simmons has the personality to excel in the postseason. With Embiid limited, Simmons really needs to show up so Jimmy Butler does not have to do it all.
The Philadelphia 76ers are gearing up for what they hope will be a deep postseason run, and they are adding a piece to their frontcourt in advance of the playoffs.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that veteran center Greg Monroe has agreed to a rest-of-season contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 3, 2019
Monroe, 28, has bounced around with a few different teams over the past few years. He most recently spent time with the Celtics, which was his second stint in Boston since last year. The former No. 7 overall pick also appeared in 38 games with the Toronto Raptors this season and averaged 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for them.
The Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a late win over the Boston Celtics in a game that featured a playoff atmosphere Wednesday night, and Terry Rozier feels his Eastern Conference rivals may have been a little too excited about the victory.
Trailing 108-105 with less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Sixers fought back and scrapped their way to a 118-115. You can understand why they were excited, but Rozier mocked them after the game for overdoing it a bit.
Terry Rozier: "I thought the confetti was going to drop. No, I did. It was a big win, not trying to take nothing away from them. But I thought the confetti was dropping tonight."
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 21, 2019
Had the game been in Boston and the Celtics won in similar fashion, they probably would have reacted the same way. The two teams could very well meet in the postseason again this year, and some intense play led to technical fouls and an ejection on Wednesday. Basketball should be hoping for several more rematches between the Celtics and Sixers.
Andrew Bogut left the NBA last year to sign with an Australian team, and he showed enough with his play overseas that multiple teams are interested in adding him for the stretch run.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers are among the contending teams that are interested in signing Bogut, who just finished an MVP season with the Sydney Kings.
Multiple contenders, including Golden State and Philadelphia, are expected to express interest in upcoming free agent Andrew Bogut. His season has ended in playoffs of Australia’s NBL, where Bogut was league MVP and DPOY, and he will take some time to decide on next team.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 3, 2019
Bogut, 34, last played in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he averaged just 9.0 minutes per game. While the level of competition is much different in the NBA, teams obviously believe he can still provide front court depth.
The Philadelphia 76ers have high expectations after investing in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris this season, which means an early playoff exit would be unacceptable.
Owner Josh Harris said Friday that it would be “very problematic” if the Sixers failed in the first round this season, especially with a potential matchup against the Boston Celtics, a team they have consistently struggled against, looming large.
“It would be problematic,” Harris said, via Jackie MacMullan of ESPN. “Very problematic. It would not be what we’re playing for.
“We’d be unhappy. I’d be unhappy. The city would be unhappy. We’re going to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have enough talent on our roster that if we play the way we’re capable of playing, we can beat any team in the East.”
Coach Brett Brown got a new contract after last season, but one has to wonder if an early exit would bring his position under threat. It’s clear that the Sixers are aiming high, and they will not settle for a quick playoff run this time around.