There are some nights over the course of an NBA season where a team just is not going to have it. The Philadelphia 76ers are the perfect example of that as they did not have the right energy or urgency from the jump as they fell 101-94 to the New Orleans Pelicans.
It was not a good night, overall. The Pelicans are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and Philadelphia only mustered up 94 points against them. They committed 19 turnovers, they shot 41.8%m and they were 11-for-31 from deep.
One could point to the defense, but it just came down to the fact that Zion Williamson is just a bully and they did not have enough against him. Even with Williamson’s big game, New Orleans only scored 101 points. Philadelphia lost this game on this offensive end of the floor.
“I was just disappointed with how we approach the game, mentally,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I thought we lost this game upstairs. I thought this was a mental weakness game for us. We haven’t had a lot of those, but tonight, we were mentally weak.”
Tobias Harris led the Sixers with 23 points and seven rebounds on the night, but he agreed with his coach. Philadelphia just did not have the right energy or urgency to really push through.
“We let a lot of things build up but I just thought as a group, and this is even myself speaking, our energy wasn’t where it needed to be as a whole group,” said Harris. “That’s something that, in games, when things are going good, it’s easy to have great energy but when things are a little rocky and up and down, those are games where the whole team has to pull their energy together to win.”
Everything pointed to a lack of execution on the offensive end in this game. Outside of Williamson, the Pelicans did not get much help from others. Brandon Ingram shot just 5-for-21, Eric Bledsoe was just 3-for-9, and New Orleans as a whole went 4-for-22 from deep.
“I thought this was as much of an offensive night as it was a defensive night,” said Rivers. “If we run our offense and then move the ball, and play right, then we probably win the game. I thought our defense was actually good enough.”
Going into this one, the Sixers were expected to win. The Pelicans had been struggling lately and they also missed a lot of open looks. This was a game Philadelphia should have been able to get a win.
“I don’t think we came to play tonight the way we should have,” said Danny Green. “I think we just kind of eased into the game and thought it was gonna be, not given to us, but we were gonna win just off our sheer talent. By the time we tried to turn the switch on, it was too late.”
The Sixers will now have to board the plane and take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday on the road.
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