What They're Saying | Moving Past Tough Back-to-Back

The 76ers had a sense their first back-to-back of the season would be a challenging one - consecutive road games against teams that, similarly to themselves, not only boast starpower, but enough of it to be likely contenders for Eastern Conference playoff spots.

Despite being without Ben Simmons Tuesday in Detroit, the Sixers had a legit shot at knocking off the Pistons. The game, of course, went to overtime, with Blake Griffin having the final say.

Then on Wednesday, the club got off to a spirited start against unbeaten Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, helped vault the Bucks ahead in the second quarter, and the Sixers couldn’t recover.

Here’s a roundup of some comments from the Sixers about the their quick trip to the Midwest.

JJ Redick is on a heck of a run right now (26.7 ppg, 17 3fgm, 47.2 3fg%). He weighed in on the state of the team following consecutive losses.

“Just get better.You can’t assume anything in this league. I think maybe we assumed that we would pick up where we left off, and there would be more carryover from last year. But players get better, teams get better, the league evolves. I think if we’ve learned anything these first five games, it’s that we have some improvement to make, we’ve got some catching up to do. I’m confident in our group and our coaching staff, [but] it was not our best five game stretch by any means.”

Through five games, the Sixers rank 18th in the NBA in defensive rating (110.2), a department they finished third in a season ago.  Although Joel Embiid hopes the results improve soon, he also realizes the team is in the midst of adopting a new, more switch-oriented scheme.

“Tonight, we just didn’t have it. I’ve been saying since preseason, I don’t think we’re very good defensively. We got to fix it, we got to correct it. We got a lot of stuff to work on.”

Ben Simmons would like to see the Sixers talk better on defense, and be more accountable. Sounds as if he’s going to be proactive in trying to bring about these changes.

“I think it’s communication. Communication is one of the main things we need to get better at right now, at least that’s one of the things I see, personally. That’s definitely one of the things we need to lock in. You can go and look at multiple plays where we didn’t communicate [at Milwaukee], and guys got open shots or threes of a pick. It’s little things like that.”

Back in the line-up Wednesday, Simmons registered his second triple-double (14 pts, 13 reb, 11 ast) of the season. Brett Brown said afterwards it was no surprise that Milwaukee packed the paint against the reigning Rookie of the Year.

“You see his breakaway speed, and when it’s fast, he shines. He’s our Giannis, and Giannis is their Ben. They’ve very similar in how they play with their breakaway speed.

“I thought [Simmons] looked ok. I thought physically he looked ok. I thought physically he looked ok. I planned on playing him not as many minutes.”

Source: https://www.nba.com/sixers/news/what-theyre-saying-moving-past-tough-back-back