Every loss is a teaching moment in the NBA. At least that’s the spin the Sixers are putting on it.
Then again, Philadelphia wasn’t the best version of themselves since they were down three starters and two All-Stars. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons didn’t even get on the plane for California as they rehab from injuries.
The Sixers dropped back-to-back games to the Clippers and Lakers as a result. Not to worry, head coach Brett Brown believes they’ll be better for it. These tough losses are the best way to simulate competing in hostile road environments in the playoffs.
“You know what? Sadistically, we love it,” Brown told reporters, via Ben Golliver. “You really want to figure out what life looks like in the playoffs? Do what we just did. Go play the Clippers on the road, play the Lakers on the road, and I like it.”
Brown pointed to the positives, like watching Glenn Robinson III score a career-high 25 points and continuing to monitor the growth of backup point guard Shake Milton. It’s not like the Sixers rolled over and played dead. They actually held an 11-point lead early and won the first quarter 35-28. The Lakers’ talent just overpowered them the rest of the way.
“It was always going to be a difficult game,” Brown said, “but my criteria is ‘Did we get something out of it? Did we move the needle a little bit?’ and I believe that we did.”
Joel Embiid & Ben Simmons Can Win Title Together
There is no update on when Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will rejoin the Sixers. The All-Star center was supposed to be re-evaluated for his left shoulder sprain later this week, while the All-Star point guard is out indefinitely with a pinched nerve in his back.
The Sixers had been targeting a return for Embiid by March 11. Either way, head coach Brett Brown wanted to dispel a myth about there being any friction between the two superstars. Brown took it a step further and claimed he truly believes Embiid and Simmons are poised to win a championship together.
“I personally am convinced those two are going to win a championship at some point in their career and that they, for sure, can coexist,” Brown said following practice Monday at UCLA, via USA Today. “The myth is that they can’t. I think that is so abused and not articulated the way I see it.”
Whether that happens in Philadelphia — and under Brown’s tutelage — is another story.
“Do your homework and look at pairings that have won and when they win,” Brown said. “You aren’t going to see many that are 23 and 26,” Brown said. “Sometimes it takes a little bit of time.”