Just about everything that could've gone wrong for the Philadelphia 76ers
did Tuesday night.
They couldn't stop much at all on the defensive side of things, surrendering double-figure scoring numbers to five Knicks players while allowing a 43.2% rate from 3-point range.
On offense, it appeared as if a figurative cover were draped over the basket. Shot attempts clanged off of the rim for Philly, and the 76ers' best player might have been more valuable to their opponent than their own cause.
Joel Embiid had his worst night of the young season and perhaps the worst outing of his career since he posted a dud in the scoring column in 2019.
He was far from a goose egg Tuesday — the big man scored 14 — but he had tremendous trouble connecting on his field-goal attempts. In fact, Embiid didn't find the net until the second half, going 0-for-5 in the first and finishing 2-for-7 overall. Most of his production came at the free-throw line, where he made 10 of his 11 attempts.
And the team suffered in his torpor. After a relatively even first quarter, New York began to pull away in the second, slashing the 76ers from both inside and beyond the arc as it rode a 22-8 run into the halftime break. The Knicks led 62-42 after two.
For Thibodeau, preparing for the face-off with Philly had to be a much easier mental exercise, given the absence of one Ben Simmons.
The enigmatic Aussie has yet to suit up in a game for Philadelphia and has probably created more headlines around the team than the on-court product itself.
Be it contentious meetings, questionable disappearing acts or unnecessary extra baggage, Simmons' situation has been a whirlwind of drama.
But perhaps the biggest blow to the Philly faithful that Simmons could've unleashed thus far has been the absence of his best ability: availability.
TNT's Charles Barkley thinks the clock is ticking on both parties to come to a solution.
"Basketball is hard enough without all of the extracurricular B.S. going on behind the scenes," Barkley, a former Sixer, said on "Inside the NBA."
"They've got to figure out this situation quickly."
Simmons' teammates, though, have come to his defense in an act of brotherly love.
"I think we just have to understand he's a human first," Tobias Harris recently told the media. "If he's going through something, we have to respect that and be there for him as a team, organization, fans. All the way down the line. At this time, I think he needs more support than neglect."
Embiid gave a similar message of grace as he addressed Philly's fans ahead of their home opener, calling for support for his "brother."
As for "figuring it out," the 76ers have taken steps toward getting on the same page as Simmons.
Per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Sixers put a halt to fines they had been issuing him for player misconduct, in accordance with a provision in contracts that allows for leeway if a player is dealing with mental health issues.
"The Sixers are hopeful that they've made all the resources they have available to him," Shelburne said on "NBA Today." "They're not going to force him to see any doctor. This will be in collaboration with medical professionals and also his team. Everybody's in a good, positive place right now, to where if this progresses and he starts to feel more mentally and physically ready to play, there's a hope that he would resume individual workouts at the facility and then rejoin the team. But there's no timetable on the return."
According to Shelbourne, the situation between the team and Simmons is improving.
For now, though, Simmons remains out, and the 76ers will have to figure out life without him.
Source : https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nba/joel-embiid-76ers-are-struggling-early-in-season-as-ben-simmons-saga-continues879