Things started pretty well for the Sixers on Monday in Miami. Joel Embiid got off to a hot start. Ben Simmons continued his aggressive ways.
Coming off an embarrassing loss in Boston Saturday night, the Sixers trailed by just four at halftime to a Heat team that's been excellent at home. Then, the second half happened. Miami punched the Sixers in the mouth to start the third quarter and they never recovered.
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After going 5 of 10 in the first half, Embiid was perfect from the floor in the second half. The problem is, he only took four shots.
He wound up with 29 points, but still, it seemed like there were opportunities for more.
Still trying to figure it out, what I'm asked to do," Embiid told reporters in Miami. "Nights are different. You don't know what you're getting. Some nights you get the ball, some nights you don't. But at the end of the day, it starts on defense. We all got to come out and get stops and run off of it.
It's fair to call out the defensive issues. The Sixers surrendered 41 third-quarter points, 81 second-half points and a season-worst 137 points total. Their defense not traveling seems to a big part of the team's home/road disparity. They're now 9-18 away from the Wells Fargo Center.
But it appeared that the Heat's zone defense affected the way the Sixers used Embiid offensively. Still, the All-Star center felt like more could've been done.
I don't know. If you want to get me the ball, I'm sure we can find a way. I don't know. I mean, I had pretty good start and I don't know what happened. I gotta go back and watch the tape. I'm not sure.
That may appear to be a shot at Brett Brown and the Sixers' coaching staff, but Embiid was quick to stay that wasn't the case.
"At the end of the day, the coaches can only have so much control," he said. "They're not on the court shooting the ball or passing it, making plays. All they can do is call the plays and we just got to execute."
When you lose three games in a row in embarrassing fashion, these things tend to happen. When your best player is only able to get up four shots in the second half, it's bound to leave people scratching their heads. When you're not playing defense like you're capable, one of your best defenders calls the team "soft."
Guys are frustrated and looking for answers.
We're 51 games into the regular season and the Sixers don't appear to have many.
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