O2 Arena

Things get foggy for Sixers in London

Things get foggy for Sixers in London

BOX SCORE

The Sixers are not bringing a win back from London. Instead, they will return to Philadelphia with a list of improvements needed to compete with the top talent in the Eastern Conference.

Surrendering leads is not a new issue for the Sixers. They have been prone to giving up game-changing runs, stretches in which their offense stalls and the opponents run up the scoreboard. 

On Thursday, the Sixers built a 22-point lead, but didn’t give it all up right away. The Celtics chipped away in the second quarter, then put their foot on the gas in the third to outscore the Sixers by 15. The game was out of the Sixers’ hands from there. 

"I think that's the first time we've ever let somebody back in and not done anything about it or made a push,” Ben Simmons told reporters after the Sixers’ 114-103 loss at the O2 Arena (see observations). “They just made a run and we didn't do anything about it, didn't execute plays, didn't get rebounds, didn't get stops. I think that's what it came down to.” 

What looked like it had the makings of an upset turned into a reminder of the Sixers’ to-do list. Play four quarters of basketball. Limit turnovers (two in the first quarter, 17 after that). Play team basketball. 

The Celtics have too many experienced players to let these windows of opportunities pass them by. 

“When you really go back and you say, 'Well, how do you surrender the lead? What are the common reasons that you surrender the lead?'” Brown said. “For us, there have been, at times, not a sort of disciplined way to handle adversity. Sometimes with our youth, this catches us a little off guard. I think structurally, you can point at some turnovers that creep up.”

And part of that growth is the continued development of young talent. Simmons scored 16 points and under his season average with three assists and just two rebounds (see highlights). Joel Embiid recorded a quiet double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He was scoreless in the first quarter, a slow start when Embiid didn’t settle into a zone. 

"If I'm not having fun … another way for me to have fun and kick someone's ass is also talk trash — if I'm not doing that, usually I have bad games,” Embiid said. “I don't think they did anything. I was just not in a rhythm and I didn't do a good job of letting my teammates find me. I don't think they did anything special. But they double-teamed a couple times, I turned the ball over once and I shot a bad shot once, so I've got to correct that."

At 19-20, the Sixers are nearly halfway through the regular season. They currently are one spot out of the eighth seed behind the Pacers. The Sixers will face the 29-11 Raptors on Monday, another top-tier Eastern Conference team they are winless against this season. Their loss to the Celtics should serve as a measuring stick of steps they have to take to not only make the playoffs, but compete in them as well. 

“We got out by 22 points. You're playing against the best team in the East, the best defensive team in the NBA, and we didn't react the way we have to,” Brown said. “The physicality got the better of us, the turnovers definitely got the better of us, and it's part of our growth. It's something that .500 teams experience and we're going to have to do better.”

Sixers to face Celtics at London's O2 Arena

Sixers to face Celtics at London's O2 Arena

The Sixers are heading to London.

They will take on the Celtics at The O2 Arena on Jan. 11, 2018. This will count as a home game for the Sixers. CSN will broadcast the game. 

“The NBA has done an exceptional job of attracting and cultivating fans from across the world, and we’re thrilled to bring the Philadelphia 76ers to London, a special city with rich culture and tradition,” president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said.

The Sixers last played in the U.K. during the 2013 preseason as part of the NBA Global Games Manchester against the Thunder. This game will be a return to London for Brett Brown. He coached the Australian national team there for the 2012 Olympics. 

“Participating in NBA London Game 2018 is a great opportunity for our players to compete in front of an international audience at the historic O2 Arena,” Brown said. “The basketball fans there are very passionate and I am looking forward to playing the Celtics there in January.”

Tickets for the London game will go on sale in October. Because this is a home game for the Sixers, season-ticket members who have paid in full for the season have two options. They can request a refund for the game or put the charges toward a credit for future games.

The scenario is different for season-ticket members on an automatic payment plan. They will not be charged for this game and it will be removed from their plan statements in January. 

The Sixers have close ties to professional sports in London. Managing general partner Josh Harris and co-managing general partner David Blitzer co-own Crystal Palace F.C. of the EPL. Crystal Palace will play Burney two days after the Sixers’ game. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our dynamic team filled with exciting international players to a fan base that has a clear passion for world-class sporting events,” Harris said. 

Echoed Blitzer, who lived in London for 10 years, “It’s really exciting and encouraging to see the NBA continue to skyrocket in popularity internationally.”

The Sixers also are linked to London through their esports franchise, Team Dignitas, whose president and founder Michael “ODEE” O’Dell lives in the city. 

“With the support of our international fans and our family of dynamic sports and entertainment brands awaiting our arrival, we anticipate a very welcoming experience,” chief executive officer Scott O’Neil said.

The complete 2017-18 regular season schedule is expected to be released in the coming days. The Sixers will kick off their preseason action on Oct. 4 against the Grizzlies at the Wells Fargo Center. They also reportedly will play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Christmas.

Report: Sixers to face Celtics at London's O2 Arena next season

Report: Sixers to face Celtics at London's O2 Arena next season

The rivalry between the Sixers and Celtics has been dormant for a while now.

But with the Sixers now boasting a budding roster full of top-level draft picks and the Celtics adding All-Star Gordon Hayward to a team that was the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, things could heat back up between the two teams in 2017-18.

Get your popcorn ready … and your passports?

According to a report Wednesday from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Sixers and Celtics will face off at London's O2 Arena on Jan. 11, 2018.

“The Celtics-Philadelphia matchup will be a regular season affair — not an exhibition — and will be a 76ers home game,” Bulpett writes. “That means Philly fans will have one fewer opportunity to see Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz, the third and first overall picks from last month’s draft, respectively, involved in the major pre-draft trade between the clubs.”

The NBA will release its official schedule later this summer.

The Sixers-Celtics matchup would be part of the league’s Global Games initiative. Last season, the NBA held three games outside of the United States — two in Mexico City and one in London.