New York, November 14: Joel Embiid should be back in the lineup soon, but the Philadelphia 76ers need to figure some things out on defence in the meantime.
Philadelphia fell 118-113 to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday (November 13) in NBA after digging a large first-half hole as the 76ers proved unable to stop anyone from scoring.
Indiana shot 67.4 per cent from the floor in the opening half, embarking on a 15-0 run beginning late in the first quarter and leading by as many as 20 before the break.
"Listen, we didn’t deserve to win tonight," Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers told reporters. "They shot 57 per cent from the field, 67 I think at half-time, and we cooled them off a little bit.
"They played harder. They beat us in transition, I think they had 18 transition points in the first half, we cut it in the second half to make the game manageable, but when you’re on the road, and you get down 20 and you dig yourself a hole, it’s hard coming back, it is.
"Give them credit. They were better prepared. They were the better team tonight."
It was the fourth successive loss for the 76ers as Embiid missed his fourth consecutive game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday (November 8).
Matisse Thybulle also missed his fifth game in a row due to health and safety protocols, and Tyrese Maxey said the void is significant.
"They’re like defensive bail-outs," Maxey said. "When you make a mistake, they’ll cover it up because they’re just special guys. You can go for a gamble, miss it, Matisse will cover it up and get a block.
"Joel’s seven-foot at the rim, you get blown by, he’s blocking it or he’s challenging shots. It’s hard for offensive players to score on them. We’ve got to be collectively more solid without those guys."
In a stretch when the short-handed 76ers cannot afford any letdowns, Maxey also said the team's "competitive nature slipped" in the first half, "and that's one thing we can never let slip".