76ers

Bad third quarter hurt Sixers more than late-game situations in loss to Warriors

Bad third quarter hurt Sixers more than late-game situations in loss to Warriors

Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler shot a combined 12 of 36. 

Ben Simmons turned the ball over nine times.

And, oh yeah, the Sixers were playing their fifth straight game without All-Star center Joel Embiid.

Still, they managed to give the defending champion Warriors all they could handle in a 120-117 loss at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night (see observations).

A lot of the focus postgame was with how the game ended. Mike Scott, who was very good Saturday overall, inexplicably committed a foul on Kevin Durant with 35 seconds left and the Sixers trailing by three.

After a Simmons basket and defensive stop, the Sixers still found themselves down three with 10.3 seconds left when Draymond Green fouled Simmons. Simmons made the first free throw but then missed the second free throw on purpose. Unfortunately, Simmons didn’t hit the rim and it was a violation.

Wasn’t it a little early for an intentional miss?

“When we don’t have timeouts and I’ve got to do something coming out, I’ll do it all day, every day,” Brett Brown said. “I don’t feel comfortable with Golden State and especially the fact that I don’t have any timeouts. I think it’s questionable for me if you do have timeouts. When you don’t, that’s what we’re doing.”

The Sixers had yet another chance to tie the game with 2.4 second left, trailing, 120-117. With no timeouts and inbounding from three-quarters court, it was going to be difficult for the Sixers to get a get a good look. Simmons inbounded the ball to Harris along the sideline. Harris was immediately mobbed by two Warriors and stepped out of bounds before getting a shot off.

While they had opportunities late to tie the game, that’s not where the game was lost.

The Sixers got off to a blazing start and built a 67-55 lead heading into halftime. At that point, Harris was 6 of 12 for 16 points and Simmons was 7 of 8 for 18 with four turnovers.

Then Golden State stormed back. The Warriors went on a 16-0 run that the Sixers just couldn’t stem. A 12-point halftime lead became a three-point deficit after three.

"That span right there was the change of the game, for the momentum shift,” Harris said. “They're one of the best teams in the league coming out after halftime. We were a little over-passive in the beginning of the third quarter, had a few turnovers. They're one of the best teams scoring off turnovers, and they scored 38 points in the third quarter alone. That run was big for them. 

“When we look back on this game, that third quarter really hurt us."

Harris went ice cold in the second half, going just 1 for 8 — the one was a three with 37.1 seconds left. Simmons’ turnover issues increased as he committed five more while he went just 3 of 7 after halftime.

You can break down all the late-game situations you want, but the Sixers were badly outplayed in a 38-point third quarter for the Warriors. Given the context of the situation — playing without your best player against the world champs — it’s far from the worst loss of the season for the Sixers.

“Everybody like lives and dies on every single play. It’s dramatic. And it can’t be for me,” Brown said. “There’s so much good that came out of this game and we've got Joel Embiid coming back … 

“So the mission is still the mission. We've got 19 games left and however many days. We take these situational type things and we get better at that. That’s where my head is at more than doing some other things. There’s many, many positives that can come out of tonight.”

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Knicks targeting Elton Brand as GM? Sixers 'very happy' with him, per team source

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Knicks targeting Elton Brand as GM? Sixers 'very happy' with him, per team source

The Knicks could be looking within the Sixers' organization during their GM search.

Team president Leon Rose has reportedly “targeted” Sixers GM Elton Brand for the same role with the Knicks, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The report went on to say that Rose would wait to see if Brand, 41, would be let go after this year’s playoffs.

It’s a little hard to imagine the Sixers parting ways with Brand despite the team underperforming this season. Though his big moves of stealing Al Horford away from the Celtics, acquiring Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler and signing Tobias Harris to a near-max deal haven’t panned out, the organization seems to be high on Brand.

A team source on Wednesday confirmed Brand is under contract beyond this season and said the organization is very happy with his work since being named GM in 2018. The source cited Brand's leadership and strong working relationships with players, agents, and executives around the league.

That's in line with what managing partner Josh Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia back in October.

“When the Bryan Colangelo situation occurred, we went through a really long search to try to figure out who was the right person for the job of general manager,” Harris said. “Obviously, [Brand] hadn't been in the front office very long, but all of his strength as a leader and his intelligence and his ability to communicate and his history with the game and with our team and with our city. All those things really were very large in the decision. …

“… and he's increasingly putting his insignia, his imprint on the team, and it's really great. I mean, today's NBA is a player's league. He was an All-Star player not that long ago. He's a really unique person. So I'm really happy that we're working together.”

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Which era of Sixers basketball would make the best documentary?

Which era of Sixers basketball would make the best documentary?

The Sixers are a franchise rich in history and, let’s face it, rich in drama.

With ESPN moving up the release of The Last Dance, a documentary about the dominance of Michael Jordan and the Bulls in their last Finals run, it sparked an interesting debate on the Sixers Talk podcast.

Which era of Sixers basketball would you most like to see a documentary on?

Co-hosts Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick both made the case for Dr. J, Moses Malone and the teams of 1980’s … but for very different reasons.

Don’t get me wrong,” Hudrick said, “some of The Process stuff would be great to get some behind-the-scenes nuggets of what was going on there with some of the decisions that were made and getting some answers to the questions that we’ve all had. …

“[In a documentary on the 1980’s team] we can all go back and watch and see, ‘Oh, Dr. J, he won a championship.’ But to get that context of there were people who were doubting him and then he proved them all wrong. It’s little stuff like that you don’t know about until you go and watch [a documentary] like that.

Pommells agreed with wanting to see something on that era, but wasn’t nearly as interested in reliving The Process years.

To hell with The Process. I ain’t trying to watch nothing on that. I lived through it, I experienced all these little idiosyncrasies. I think once the Bryan Colangelo thing happened, that completely let me know that I was over it, past it, finished with it, ready to move on — because I’m just exasperated at this point. …

“It would be a black eye on the Philadelphia sports landscape.

Do you agree with Pommells? Would you rather see something on the Allen Iverson-led teams? Or way back in the Wilt Chamberlain-Hal Greer days?

For more on the debate, check out the full Sixers Talk podcast below.

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