Quotebook | "There's No Atmosphere Like It"
It was a hotly-contested battle between two perennial Eastern Conference playoff teams, a game that featured 16 ties and 14 lead changes. In the end, the 76ers prevailed, pushing past the Indiana Pacers, 119-116, Saturday at The Center. With the victory, the Sixers remained unbeaten at home, improving to 9-0, and won for the seventh time in eight games.
Here are some of the comments that were made ‘round the locker room afterwards.
Brett Brown had a front-row view of Ben Simmons’ incredible defensive playmaking down the stretch. The 23-year old came up with a pair of critical steals with Saturday’s game on the line, then, as time expired, snagged a third swipe for good measure.
“The plays he can make from an athletic standpoint, and the plays he can make from a physical standpoint [late] in the game are just elite. You hear me cheer-lead the cause of him being on an NBA All-Defensive Team, and it’s examples like [these] that make it a no-brainer.”
The timely contributions made an impression on Tobias Harris as well. The veteran was the beneficiary of Simmons’ first steal late in the fourth period, which ultimately led to Harris getting a transition jam.
“It was at that point where whichever team could get a stop and was able to get out and run and get a bucket [wins]. I thought for us it was Ben being able to get those steals and being able to stop those possessions without [Indiana] being able to get a shot up that was huge.”
Harris netted 14 of his 22 points in Saturday’s final frame. Brown said:
“I have preached it to everyone and to him as well – I want him to find the rim. A scorer is a scorer, but driving is what we want. We need him to score, and I want him to think like a scorer. I think he has that.
“Tobias is very prideful. He wants to get better. I forget sometimes really how young he is. He’s got character and he’s an athlete."
Joel Embiid, meanwhile, turned in quite the performance, too, bursting for 32 points and 11 rebounds. He converted all 15 of his free throw attempts, and maintained an impressive level of physical dominance despite playing for the second time in as many nights.
“We were down by a lot [Friday] against New York, and we did a better job in the second half, especially on defense. On offense [against the Knicks], we just moved the ball and everybody found their spots. Tonight, it was a collective effort. It started on defense. Ben had a couple of great steals, and we went from there.”
Simmons was simply pleased with Saturday’s outcome, especially that it came in front of another sellout crowd, the Sixers’ 102nd in a row.
“The Sixers have the best fans in the NBA, and that’s not being biased. If you go anywhere else, there’s no atmosphere like it. We want to give everything we have to our city. It’s a big responsibility, and that’s what I believe.”