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:
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.
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."
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.
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.
“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.
The NBA trade deadline has passed, which means we more or less know what teams will look like in the NBA playoffs. There will be a few new faces who join playoff teams, but the bulk of these rosters are in place. With most of the season behind us, we also know who will likely be making the playoffs and seeded highly for a Finals run.
Keeping in mind the trade deadline activity, here are the top ten contenders to take home the title in June.
10. Utah Jazz
The Jazz were ultimately quiet at the trade deadline despite being linked to Memphis guard Mike Conley. In the end, they will go with what they had, which isn’t bad. Donovan Mitchell is a star, and Rudy Gobert is playing with a point to prove after being a quite egregious All-Star snub. They’re not really deep enough to challenge the best of the West, and they don’t really have enough in the way of top-level talent, but they’re good enough to cause a few headaches.
The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to tell their side of the story in the ongoing disagreement over Ben Simmons.
The Lakers said in a statement Monday that it was the Philadelphia 76ers who first reached out to the Lakers asking if it would be possible for Simmons to talk with Magic Johnson. The Lakers said they contacted the Sixers and informed them that their approval would be required, and “that was the end of the matter.”
The story continues to evolve depending on who’s telling it. 76ers general manager Elton Brand said earlier Monday that the Lakers had originally reached out to the 76ers to approve such a meeting, and Brand had refused to authorize it. That’s pretty much the total opposite of what the Lakers are now saying.