The Sixers find themselves on the precipice. The struggling team can rally around each other and go on an epic winning streak, or fall off the deep end and drown.
It really could go in either direction with 41 games left in the regular season. On Wednesday, Al Horford was asked a direct question about whether anybody needed to stand up and call somebody out. The query was fair, especially after Ben Simmons’ veiled shots at the Sixers being “soft.” But Horford’s answer seemed to be misconstrued and interpreted a million different ways. Here’s what he said:
“Yeah, I mean you know there’s some stuff going on in our locker room, and we’ll keep that internal,” Horford told reporters, via Philly Voice‘s Kyle Neubeck. “But we all know we need to be better, we need to step it up, and it’s a great opportunity to do it tomorrow.”
At first, Horford’s answer was seen as a controversial statement implying drama in the Sixers’ locker room. His decision to use the words “some stuff going on” seemed to indicate major problems. Upon seeing the full transcript of Horford’s exchange with reporters, it is more likely he was confirming that the leaders had stepped up and challenged the team to play better. Remember, they are mired in a three-game losing streak and hold the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers are coming off an embarrassing 31-point loss to the Miami Heat on Monday night, a game in which they were totally dominated by their former star guard Jimmy Butler. They are off tonight and battle the Milwaukee Bucks on the road on Thursday night.
“Our backs are against the wall right now,” Horford told reporters. “That last game didn’t go as well as we wanted it to, especially in the second half. We have to respond and I believe that our team has responded every time this year when we’ve hit some adversity so tomorrow night is not going to be any different. We have to respond.”
Joel Embiid Says Brett Brown Hasn’t Lost the Locker Room
While many outside the building continue to pile on Brett Brown’s job security, his players are standing up for the beleaguered head coach. Well, kind of.
Joel Embiid said “coaches aren’t out there to make shots for us” but then added that the game plan could be described a little better in advance. The All-Star center admitted he doesn’t always know if he’s getting the ball or not when he enters the game.
“Our offense has not been good,” Embiid told reporters, via The Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey. “Like I said from time to time, you don’t know what you are getting. I don’t know if I’m going into the game and if I am getting the ball or not.”
Brown himself was asked the same question and he suggested talking to the players themselves. In fact, the coach suggested that reporters “speak freely” so they understood the question.
“You’d be better off asking them,” Brown said. “I look forward to coaching them.”
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