76ers’ Doc Rivers Blames ‘Inconsistent’ Officials After Wizards Loss

Doc Rivers Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers.

There was plenty of blame to go around on Wednesday night, as the Philadelphia 76ers dropped a game to the Washington Wizards. The Sixers sorely missed Joel Embiid’s dominance, getting outscored by the Wiz 68-38 in the paint. On offense, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden accounted for 72 of Philadelphia’s 111 points. The flip side? Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma accounted for 77 of Washington’s 121 total points. It was a game of each team’s best players engaged in a shootout, with the DC crew having the slight edge.

But for Doc Rivers, the Sixers’ problems stretched beyond the two teams taking the floor. Instead, Rivers argued that the referees deserved some of the blame for mismanaging the game.

“I thought tonight [the refereeing] was a little inconsistent, but it was a lot of contact and you can see that,” Rivers said after the game. “I told our guys, ‘Listen, I’ll yell and fight, but stop complaining and play.’ I thought we did that in the third quarter.”

It’s not the first time this season that Rivers has opened up on some of the problems plaguing the Sixers.

Rivers Argues 76ers Need Better ‘Communication’

After a disappointing loss to the Toronto Raptors last week, the Sixers fell to 1-4 on the early season. Rivers knew he would face questions about the team’s woeful transition defense, it’s general sluggishness, and the questionable rotation and high usage for the starters.

But when asked about the Sixers’ Achilles Heel after the game, Rivers pointed to another factor entirely.

“Communication. We gotta get on the same page. Sometimes it’s extremely hard to get on the same page, but as long as we keep talking to each other—you gotta step in the same direction. Talk to each other, know what we’re doing, know when we’re switching, when we’re not switching. It’s gonna come with trust and trusting each other and just communication as it keeps building throughout the season.”

Would better communication fix Philadelphia’s problems in transition? Certainly. Would a greater effort from its stars also go a long way toward solving that issue? Also yes.

But for Sixers star Tyrese Maxey, the lack of communication stems from a lack of enough playing time together.

Maxey: New Sixers Team Still Has to ‘Gel’

On Tuesday, Maxey sat down with NBA.com reporter Steve Aschburner to discuss the team’s slow start to the season. But Maxey, ever the optimist, flashed his wide smile and urged patience from fans.

“Y’know, a lot of people were probably panicking and I understand why. There’s a lot of talent on this team. It still has to gel. P.J. Tucker is new, Danuel House is new, De’Anthony Melton is new, Montrezl [Harrell] is new. That’s four new rotation guys right there. They have to get acclimated.”

The Sixers did add four new players to the rotation this summer, as Maxey mentioned. And so it’s no surprise that adding nearly an entirely new lineup of players takes time to mesh properly. As the Sixers of old learn the rhythms of the Sixers of new, the team should slowly build its chemistry.

With any luck, wins will follow.

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