The Philadelphia 76ers visited Miami to face off against Jimmy Butler and the Heat. Leading up to the game there were some concerns that the team wouldn’t be prepared to fight for the win. Those concerns turned out to be correct as the Sixers were absolutely obliterated by the Heat. The defensive intensity just wasn’t there and the offense had no flow. Jimmy Butler scored 38 points in three quarters and when the second half started, the Sixers couldn’t buy a bucket.
The loss on Saturday against the Celtics was bad but this was humiliating. Fans are clearly feeling the humiliation but so should Head Coach Brett Brown, all of the players, and the rest of the organization. It was an absolutely pathetic effort given but thankfully, the trade deadline is this week so a move may be in the works.
The Sixers struggled offensively other than the following players: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Mike Scott. Embiid lived off drawing phantom fouls and didn’t do much otherwise, his numbers look good but they are absolutely hollow. Simmons had a solid offensive game, it was very encouraging to see him shoot so well from the free-throw line making eight of his nine attempts. It is concerning though that he could only find the bottom of the net four times.
As for the rest of the team, the struggles were clear. Tobias Harris and Al Horford combined for an unbelievable 12 points. The two highest-paid Sixers scored 12 points combined, something is clearly wrong here. There was also no impact to be found from the bench save from Mike Scott who finally had his big game, it just happened to be in a blowout loss.
Watching this offense move it’s clear it has no flow, no direction. The team stands around waiting for other players to make their move, the constantly pick up dribbles, there’s no dedication to creating space and making a shot. At one point in the game, the ball was in-bounded to Ben Simmons (it was rolled so the clock wouldn’t start), Simmons picked up the ball around half court, dribble twice, passed to Korkmaz who immediately passed it right back, two more dribbles from Simmons and he picks up his dribble again. Once Simmons picked up his dribble he looked to pass again and the ball was easily intercepted. Clearly the offense doesn’t have the players or coaches it needs.
Giving up 137 points it’s obvious to say that the Sixers were terrible defensively tonight. Much like on offense they seemed disinterested in the game as a whole. Allowing any player to score 38 points in three quarters is unacceptable even if that player is Jimmy Butler. Goran Dragic was able to score 24 points off the bench for the Heat. There was a time when Dragic scoring 24 wouldn’t be surprising but those days are gone.
The Sixers were slow, disinterested, and lacked the type of effort playoff teams need. Simmons, Embiid, Horford, all good defenders, all struggled trying to contain this heat offense. Mike Scott as good as he was offensively he was twice as bad defensively. Now Mike Scott isn’t there to play defense but for a player to be such a hole on defense is inexcusable.
Again this shows that change is needed, change of players, change of coaches. Barring a miracle I expect this to be Brett Brown’s last year as Head Coach of the Sixers, I also expect that at least one of the Sixers’ big four (Embiid, Simmons, Harris, Horford) will be traded by next season if not sooner.
The Sixers have a break until Thursday 2/6 in Milwaukee against the Bucks. That same day is the NBA’s trade deadline so it should be an action-packed day for the Sixers. Hopefully, the roster will have a new look and the team will show up against the Bucks.
Tipoff is at 8:00 PM EST and you can watch it on TNT or you can listen live at 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports