Brown stepped softly around Sim­mons’ cri­tique

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

NEW YORK >> Af­ter a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive loss the other night, Ben Sim­mons said the one word, de­liv­ered the one in­sult, spread the one con­cept that has the po­ten­tial to ei­ther in­fect or in­spire a team. He called the 76ers soft. As if Brett Brown was go­ing to come into the me­dia cap­i­tal of the world Sun­day and not be asked for his re­ac­tion to that po­ten­tially in­flam­ma­tory mouth­ful.

“I re­ally leave it alone,” Brown said, be­fore a 108105 vic­tory over the Knicks. “The group in­ter­nally will re­spond as they re­spond. He chose that word. It’s his right to com­ment on how he sees it. And the team will re­spond as the team re­sponds.

“But I re­ally don’t go there and I have my own as­sess­ment on what have been our is­sues over the past few games es­pe­cially.”

Sim­mons was ag­gra­vated af­ter a loss to At­lanta Fri­day, just two days af­ter a loss to the Wizards. Though J.J. Redick did not play in Wash­ing­ton and Joel Em­biid did not face the Hawks, Sim­mons’ words were pointed.

“I just don’t think we’re phys­i­cal enough,” Sim­mons said. “De­fen­sively, I don’t think we take it per­son­ally enough when guys score on us. It should be a pride thing. When some­body scores, it should be a pride thing ev­ery time.”

He had num­bers to sup­port the out­burst, the Hawks and Wizards each hav­ing dumped 123 points on the Six­ers. As for Brown, he did make some con­ces­sions to Sim­mons’ greater point, which was that, de­fen­sively, the Six­ers had been show­ing prob­lems.

“I think there are some com­mu­ni­ca­tion is­sues that at times haunt us in tran­si­tion de­fense, some of it our switch­ing schemes in half­court,” Brown al­lowed. “If I would point to one thing that stands out the most, it is that.”

Sun­day, the Six­ers al­lowed 18 points fewer than they did against ei­ther the Wizards or Hawks.

“We have to lock down on de­fense, and of­fen­sively take care of the ball,” said Sim­mons, af­ter col­lect­ing 20 points and 22 re­bounds. “I think it’s re­ally it. Ev­ery­body needs to be locked in.”

••• One bright Six­ers point in the loss Fri­day, and then again in Sun­day’s vic­tory, was T.J. McCon­nell.

McCon­nell fol­lowed his 7-for-8, six-as­sist, one-turnover, plus-14 ef­fort against At­lanta by shoot­ing 3-for-4 with four as­sists Sun­day.

“He just brought some en­ergy,” Brown said, of the At­lanta game. “At times when you look at in the light of day, when you study the game film against Wash­ing­ton and At­lanta, there was some en­ergy that we didn’t have. He pro­vided it. And we need all of that from ev­ery­body.”

••• The Six­ers will face Dario Saric, Robert Cov­ing­ton, the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves and ques­tions about their trade for Jimmy But­ler Tues­day at 7 in the Wells Fargo Cen­ter.

Since Saric and Cov­ing­ton were known to be among his fa­vorite play­ers, Brown is look­ing for­ward to the re­union.

“I’m just ex­cited to see them,” Brown said. “I fol­low them all the time. I played text-tag with Robert in the last 48 hours. You saw Robert when no­body even knew about him. And then we gave him $60 mil­lion. You vis­ited Dario Saric over in Europe be­fore he came to the shores. Think about this: I brought Joel Em­biid, Michael CarterWil­liams and Ner­lens Noel to Spain to watch him play in the world cham­pi­onship, just to show sup­port and let him meet team­mates.

“And so I have been with those guys for a long time. I have seen them grow. They are fan­tas­tic peo­ple. They helped us start a cul­ture. And I truly look for­ward to see­ing them.” So does Em­biid. “I just talked to both of them yes­ter­day,” he said. “I am ex­cited to have them back at the Wells Fargo. It will be fun, not to play against them, be­cause I love play­ing with them. But I hope Cov plays. I know he’s been hurt (with a bone bruise on his right knee). And Dario was a funny dude. Just around the locker room, he was loved.”

••• Em­biid, who was scratched Fri­day due to an an­kle in­jury, did not know un­til game time Sun­day if he would play.

Though he clocked 32:22 and scored 26 points, he hinted at some lin­ger­ing pain after­ward.

“We got the win, I’ve just got to get healthy, I guess,” Em­biid said. “And the ref­er­ees are on my mind, too.” OK. “I’ll get treated,” he said, “and be back to 100 per­cent.”

SET WENIG — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Six­ers’ Ben Sim­mons re­acts af­ter dunk­ing dur­ing the first half of a win over the Knicks in New York Sun­day.

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