76ers

So, there was a 'dialogue' ...? Sixers have interesting answers on players-only meeting

So, there was a 'dialogue' ...? Sixers have interesting answers on players-only meeting

For a tense 30 seconds Friday night, it felt like Tobias Harris was on the witness stand. A reporter wanted details on a players-only meeting that had, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, occurred Wednesday.

“We didn’t have no meeting,” Harris said.

The Sixers didn’t hold a players-only meeting?

“No, we just had a dialogue,” Harris responded. 

Seated next to Harris, Ben Simmons’ straight face started to break. 

Harris faced two more questions on the topic, both of which he gave short answers.

The Sixers came away from the dialogue with “positive vibes,” he said. 

As for the substance of the meeting, Harris sounded like a man who knew the law to a tee as it pertained to what he was obligated to divulge.

“That’s personal information,” Harris said, prompting Simmons and the entire courtroom — crew of media members, rather — to burst into laughter. 

A players-only meeting is certainly a notable development, and one can understand Harris’ steadfast refusal to give away much information.

Josh Richardson had the correct instinct that his teammates wouldn’t be very forthcoming about the meeting. He’d initiated the “dialogue,” and returned to play in Friday’s 119-107 win over the Grizzlies after missing the past six games with a left hamstring strain. 

“If nobody else said the focus (of the meeting), I’m not going to be the guy to say it,” he said, smiling. “We sat down, we talked some stuff out. I think it was good for us to get those things out there.”

However, Richardson was more willing than Harris to expand. 

“Everybody has a different role on the team,” he said. “Stepping up in the vocal leadership role might be my thing. We’re all still kind of figuring it out.”

In his first year as a Sixer, Richardson has already called out issues with effort and accountability in public. The notion that he’d be the right person to address similar concerns in private is unsurprising. 

The Sixers are 9-19 on the road and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They cannot reasonably act as if everything is fine, or afford to do so.

“That’s how it has to be for us to be the best team that we can be,” Richardson said. “I know it’s not comfortable. You know sometimes that it’s not going to be comfortable, but I think once we get past that threshold of just wanting to be in a comfortable range, I think we’ll step to another level.”

Al Horford was impressed with how Richardson took charge.

“It's a sign of growth from him,” he said. “We have people ... we care. We want to win. We want to do things the right way. And Josh took great initiative. Our group, we're all in this together and we're just trying to figure it out."

Richardson was limited to 15 minutes Friday and came off the bench. Brett Brown was unsure how many minutes he’d be allowed to play Richardson on Sunday vs. the Bulls and didn't know whether or not the fifth-year guard would start.

Meanwhile, Brown also wouldn’t spill information on the meeting’s contents, though he claimed to have a good excuse. 

“… Stuff that goes on behind coaches' doors and in locker rooms, I wish them well,” he said. “All I care about is the things I saw on the locker room and on the court, and I see a team that’s very committed to trying to fix this and stay together. And so my answer is what I just said — a need-to-know basis. They’ll figure out if I need to know it. If I don’t hear anything, I don’t care.”

Even if Brown had no information to relay, it’s not difficult to surmise the gist of the meeting and identify its leader — despite Harris’ best efforts. 



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Sixers Talk podcast: Ready or not, here come the Celtics

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Sixers Talk podcast: Ready or not, here come the Celtics

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we discuss our concern over Joel Embiid's health, the OKC pick conveying, the first-round matchup vs. the Celtics and much more.

(0:52) — Short night (and negative X-rays) for Joel Embiid.
(9:00) — Thanks to Mike Muscala, the Sixers have a first-round pick.
(13:37) — What will Brett Brown do with the rotation?
(27:26) — Pressure on Brown coaching against Brad Stevens, Celtics.
(39:47) — Confidence in pairing of Shake Milton and Josh Richardson?

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Bench celebrations were a highlight in fourth quarter of Sixers' game vs. Raptors

Bench celebrations were a highlight in fourth quarter of Sixers' game vs. Raptors

The starting lineups of two Eastern Conference playoff teams aren’t usually on the benches in the fourth quarter of a close game.

They were Wednesday night, though, as neither the Sixers nor the Raptors had anything to play for in a game that Toronto won, 125-121. That situation resulted in some exuberant celebrations and a mini-competition of which bench could bring the most energy. There was plenty of enthusiasm on both sides. (The photos below are from USA Today Images.)

Joel Embiid and Al Horford enjoyed Mike Scott’s shooting. 

A late Matisse Thybulle jumper was a big hit, too. 

And there were big smiles and incredulous reactions when rookie Marial Shayok blocked a shot and then chose a layup over a dunk on the ensuing fast break. 

“I don’t minimize that sort of vibe, that action, at all,” Brett Brown said. “There is a true spirit amongst our group. There is a sort of inherent, accumulated, relational side that we’ve all expedited because we’re in the bubble in buses and restaurants and gyms and dormitories together. … I think the guys on the bench, whether it’s bench players or our starters, showing that type of support, that type of attitude, how can that not be a good thing?”

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