Sixers beat Cavs

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

7 things about Sixers' ugly win over the Cavs

Dave Uram
March 13, 2019 - 8:19 am
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Before the Sixers 106-99 win over the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, head coach Brett Brown was asked what’s the key to avoiding a let down over the last 15 games, similar to what Toronto experienced the night before against the Cavs. 

“Just the recognition that there is a playoff disposition that we need to harden up,”  Brown said. “That defense will still rule our day and that the spirit of how we do things, and the technical side of how we do things no matter who we play, still ends up most important. 

“And I think that our guys understand that we’re getting to the middle of March. I think they understand completely, and they see it on the board again, No. 15. We got 15 games left and not too long you’re going to see one. And that mindset, that disposition I believe is amongst the group. We as coaches do our job and try to help remind them of that, but I feel it. I think the group doesn’t need my voice all the time saying that. I think they get it.” 

Well, they may “get it,” but it didn’t show it Tuesday. 

The 76ers shouldn’t be beating the Cavs by seven points, especially with Joel Embiid playing. They should be cruising to an easy victory, working on different offensive situations and perfecting their defense. Zhaire Smith should’ve gotten his first NBA minutes, as the rookie was called-up from the G-League Blue Coats earlier in the day. But, he didn’t. 

Instead, the Sixers barely won against a bad team with nine players on the second night of a back to back. 

A word to sum this forgettable display of basketball was “brutal.” The way the Sixers played Tuesday night won’t get it done in the playoffs, no matter what their “disposition” is. 

Here are observations from win No. 43. 

Embiid Showed Up Late, But Sluggish Otherwise 

Joel Embiid’s assessment of his game: “I was trash.” #Sixers #Cavaliers

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“I was trash,” Joel Embiid said when asked to assess his overall performance. 

Embiid finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds, with six of those points and four those rebounds coming in the final minute when the Sixers went on a 6-0 run to close the game.

The big guy gave the fans the highlight of the night with 51.1 seconds remaining, when he emphatically, and that’s understating it, threw down a put back dunk that was herculean. 

Even more glorious was T.J. McConnell’s reaction. 

Embiid finished the night draining game clinching free throws to the showers of “MVP” from the fans. He paired this offensive success in the final minute with tremendous defense as well. 

Those closing moments aside, Embiid was subpar in his 34 minutes. He was six-of-16 on the night, committed a team high six turnovers and only got to the foul line four times. 

Embiid was able to take over against a bad Cavs team, this turning an awful night into satisfactory. But, if this was a quality opponent, it would’ve been a night to forget for “The Process.” 

Atrocious Basketball 

To be frankly honest, the Cavaliers are a bad team. Glad we got that out of the way. They’re expected to play awful basketball, and their first quarter was just that, scoring only 12 points. By halftime, the Sixers were leading 53-47, and it was close the rest of the way. 

The Sixers out rebounded Cleveland 60-37. They scored 18 more points in the paint and they scored 15 second chance points compared to Cleveland’s nine. 

But, Cleveland won the fast break battle 25-15 and took 16 more shots than the Sixers because of the 76ers 22 turnovers. 

“There were just some unforced stuff that needs to be fixed,” Brown said. “It was just a little bit too casual.”

The Sixers should be anything but casual as they try to hone their game for the playoffs, let alone finish with good seeding. 

“We’ve lost a couple games this year like this game and in that sense it wasn’t frustrating because we got a win,” JJ Redick said. “But, the mood in the locker room was definitely one where we feel like we could play better.” 

The Sixers let a 16-point first quarter lead slip by allowing 35 points in the second and 30 in the third. 

“Cleveland’s middle two periods, our defense was a C-minus,” Brown said. 

I give the Sixers an “F” for their overall performance on the night. 

Waiting For Brett Brown 

Something seemed odd right away about Brett Brown’s postgame press conference. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but a took an informal poll around the press conference “hallway” at Wells Fargo Center, and I wasn’t the only one to notice.

Brown took longer than usual to arrive for his press conference. The game ended around 9:15pm and Brown didn’t arrive until 9:30pm. 

He’s made it known that he usually doesn’t say much postgame, but I felt compelled to ask anyway what his message was, especially considering the lengthy wait for him. 

“Uh, just stuff that I’ve just shared with you now,” Brown said politely. 

To summarize, Brown thought they were careless with turnovers, satisfactory on defense in the middle part of the game and lacking the “appropriate fear” of playing the lowly Cavs. He also wasn’t thrilled they didn’t get to the foul line much in the first half. 

Fellow media members joked he was re-watching all 22 turnovers, but I highly doubt he wanted to re-live that mess of a performance so soon after the conclusion. 

JJ’s Funk Continues 

Many of us thought Embiid’s return would help Redick get back in a groove. But other than his 26-point performance against Orlando, which was without Embiid, Redick’s shooting woes continue. He finished with 17 points because he was four-of-seven from three-point range, but six-of-15 overall. 

“My shot is always where I want it to be,” Redick said. “Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t. Some of it is I can feel it. I shoot a lot…Sometimes you’re doing your prep work and you’re like, ‘ah, it just doesn’t feel right,’ and sometimes like the last 10 days, it’s felt great and sometimes the ball doesn’t go in.

“The shots I’m taking are the shots that I’ve made my whole career and I’m just going to keep shooting them.” 

Positives…

Other than Embiid's final minute, there weren’t many positives. But, Ben Simmons was two assists shy of a triple double, as he led the Sixers with 26 points. He was also six-of-eight from the foul line. 

"Just working (on my foul shots)," Simmons said. "Working with my brother everyday."

Simmons is clearly putting in the extra work to improve that aspect of his game. 

"Just come in before practice, get shots up. On the road he flies out. We're in the gym usually. Whenever we get a chance to be in the gym, before the game, after the game, whatever." 

James Ennis did a decent job filling in for Jimmy Butler, scoring 12 points on six-of-seven from the floor. In addition, Boban Marjanovic scored 11 points off the bench in his first game back from a knee injury. 

Alright, enough positives. This debacle won’t go in the “classic” category of Sixers archives. 

Monday’s Practice Observation: Brown Wants Butler To Shoot More 

Speaking of Butler, he got Tuesday night off with a scheduled rest day, but that didn’t stop a reporter from asking Brown Monday afternoon about Butler’s three-point shooting, which has dropped dramatically throughout the season in terms of makes and attempts. 

Butler shot 48 percent in October, 40 percent in November, 30.8 percent in December, 29.6 percent in January, 26.1 percent in February and 25 percent so far in March. 

Brown was asked if Butler’s wrist is bothering him, or if its just a lack of confidence. 

“I don’t think any of that,” Brown said. “I’ve said it to him. I say it to you all again. I wish he would hunt more three’s and because he puts in time. He’s more than capable. I’m not the one out there receiving a ball and judging defensive closeouts or how you’re feeling…I just think in general I want to shoot more three’s. I would like for him to shoot more three’s because he’s good at it.” 

Sixers Youth Foundation Gala Raised Record Setting Numbers

The 76ers fourth annual Sixers Youth Foundation Gala and silent auction brought in record contributions. The Gala raised over $1 million dollars, with $211 thousand dollars coming from the silent auction. 

Ringing the Sixers ceremonial Liberty Bell and sitting curtsied collected the highest bid with over $12,000 dollars. The next highest earning item was watching speed painter David Garibaldi hand paint Julius Erving and Allen Iverson at $10,175 dollars. Hang with Howie Roseman at Eagles Training Camp was sold for $6500 dollars.​

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