The Sixers went into Indianapolis last night to take on the Pacers in what was dubbed by Sixers Twitter, a revenge game for the 18 point blow out loss on New Years Eve. After that game, Josh Richardson made a point to call out the lack of accountability in the locker room. He should have called out his team again.
The Sixers took a 49-40 lead into the half last night, led by Ben Simmons who dominated the first half with 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists. However, for as well as Simmons played in the first half, the Sixers shot 3-14 from three (Simmons taking exactly zero of those threes) and allowed a ton of open looks that were missed by Indy. Simmons still looked poised to lead the Sixers to a road win without Embiid and bounce back from a bad loss to Dallas on Saturday.
The second half started how most second halves start for the Sixers, terrible. They were outscored 29-20 in the third quarter and went into the fourth tied. Simmons was nonexistent on the offensive end, and threes were STILL not falling. The fourth quarter was more of the same, no shots falling, no Simmons present on offense (finished with 24 points, three assists) and the Sixers found themselves down 94-92 with just over two minutes to go. Josh Richardson, the only one who showed up for the second half, hit a three with 2:03 left in the game to give the Sixers a 95-94 lead…the last Sixers points of the game.
Indiana had a two point lead with 33 seconds to play. The Sixers came out of a timeout with a play that ended with a Harris three, which was blocked by TJ Warren. Why the play was to set up a three when the Sixers were down two and had shot a whopping 18.2% (6-33) from three that night?? I have no idea, I chalk it up to bad coaching down the stretch leading to a bad loss AGAIN in Indiana.
So where do the Sixers go from here? Changes need to be on the mind of the front office and specifically GM Elton Brand. The Sixers clearly need to add a shooter or two to come off the bench and spread the floor effectively. A coaching change should be on his mind as well. I’ll be very honest with you guys, I am not a Brett Brown fan, I don’t think the Sixers can win a championship with him, I don’t think Embiid and Simmons listen to his demands as a coach (i.e. Embiid’s game shape and Simmons’ shooting), I don’t think he manages games well and this team, “a championship contender” wakes up this morning as the SIX SEED(!!!) . That being said, it’s hard to make a change after back to back losses without your best player and it’s hard to move on from a guy midseason that the team likes as a coach and person.
The rest of this once promising season is very uncertain. The Sixers need shooters, they need Simmons to be better and more consistent offensively, they need Embiid to come back in shape, ready to go, they need Harris, Richardson and Hortford to be consistently good players and (if he stays) they need Brett Brown to be a lot better as a game day coach. That’s a lot of needs. I think the Sixers have the talent (especially with a shooter added) to make a deep playoff run, but things have to change soon before they open up the first round in Miami as the Eastern Conference’s sixth seed.
And yes, we lost to TJ McConnell, AGAIN. And he trashed talked Sixers’ players all night.
Mic'd up with T.J. McConnell was a success, here's a few of the highlights:
"You ain't about this, go back down there."
"His shoes are terrible… Wh-why? Those green shoes."
"Did you lose a bet wearing those?"
TV: FSI | Stream: FSGO pic.twitter.com/9ZEDRiMCBA
— Bally Sports Indiana (@BallySportsIN) January 14, 2020
PHOTO CREDIT: Yahoo! Sports
VIDEO CREDIT: FOX Sports Indiana