Snapshots | Loose Ends vs Atlanta
Photo Credits: Kurt Gies, Alex Subers, Getty Images
RHYTHMS OF THE SEASON
About an hour and forty-five minutes before the 76ers tipped off Friday against the Atlanta Hawks - an eventual 123-121 loss - Brett Brown was uncertain whether two of his starters would play.
Both Joel Embiid (right ankle sprain) and JJ Redick (back) were listed as questionable, with Brown saying that pre-game warm-ups would ultimately dictate their respective availability.
Embiid ended up sitting out for the third time this year, while Redick (20 pts, 7-21 fg, 4-14 3fg) returned from a two-game absence.
Brown, of course, in over three decades of professional coaching, has come to learn that every team, to some degree or another, is forced to deal with injuries. He considers this hardship part of the natural rhythm beat of an NBA season.
“It’s not always perfect,” Brown said of the circumstances clubs have to confront throughout a given year. “What has to be as close to perfect as you can make is a sort of unwavering belief that different things add up, and different things can deliver you to the end of a season.”
“I feel like as long as you don’t pivot from the non-negotiables and the message doesn’t change, then you navigate injuries, spirit, form, losses, opinions - you just navigate it all. It’s coaching in the NBA. That’s part of the job description.”
And moving forward, overcoming recent obstacles like these will certainly be part of the Sixers’ mission.
BEN’S RARE FEAT
Or, perhaps better put, ‘Ben’s :: Latest :: Rare Feat.”
While it came in a loss, there was something worth noting about Ben Simmons’ final box line Friday against Atlanta.
The reigning Rookie of the Year finished with 23 points (10-13 fg, 3-7 ft), 10 rebounds, and 15 assists, becoming the first Sixer to post a 20 x 10 x 15 performance in nearly two and a half decades.
According to basketball-reference.com, the last time the Sixers had a 20 x 10 x 15 outing was April 8th, 1995, when Dana Barros manufactured 25 points, 10 boards, and 15 dimes versus the Denver Nuggets.
Prior to that contest, only two other players in franchise history had generated 20 x 10 x 15 showings - Wilt Chamberlain (6), and Paul Seymour (1).
At 22 years of age, however, Simmons is now the youngest Sixer to ever reach those statistical minimums in the same game.
“I think he did a good job tonight, I do,” Brett Brown said about Simmons’ facilitating. “I think he made some good passes. I think he got guys in a position where he knew he wanted them. We beat up on some static middle pick-and-roll. I thought he got us in that environment well.”
Having added a seventh triple-double to his no. 2 league ranking, Simmons is simply focused on figuring out how to get the Sixers better, and avoid future losses like the one the group suffered Friday.
“We have to expect more from each other to get that...next level,” said Simmons, “so then once playoff time comes, it’s another level.”
Representing a celebration a long time in the making, Moses Malone’s no. 2 jersey will be lifted to the rafters at The Center February 8th, when the club hosts the Denver Nuggets. The announcement was made Friday.
Malone, by just about every measure, was one of the greatest players of all time. He won three MVP awards, was named Finals MVP when the Sixers won the league title in 1983, earned 12 All-Star Game bids, and was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Malone, who died September 13th, 2015, had a fan in Brett Brown.
“He was just a fierce competitor, and always around the rim, and could just swallow up rebounds. He was competitive and tough, and voiced his opinion, but what I remember most was his tenacity around the rim.
Malone is the 10th player in franchise history (Syracuse Nationals x 76ers) to have his number retired. The day of the ceremony, a sculpture in his likeness will also be unveiled along Legends Walk at the 76ers Training Complex.