The SIXCUSES are lining up again
by John Kincade
Tonight the 76ers will play their 60th game and they have the opportunity to secure their 40th win. By any measure, that’s an impressive record. Further review causes a little more concern. The (1-4) record vs the two teams ahead of you in the Eastern Conference is a far bigger issue. Saturday nights loss vs the Celtics was only 0ne game of 82, but the same nagging concerns keep showing themselves. The biggest games are where the top players need to help get you over the top. That isn’t happening.
Let’s start with the positive, Joel Embiid continues to perform like a man on a mission. From the opening tip on Saturday night he was focused and energized. He was a scoring machine and seemed to be able to get whatever scoring opportunity he desired. He continued to swat away shots and causes headaches for opposing teams. It’s the supporting casts that can’t seem to do their part and without them this team has no chance.
Whatever has happened to Tyrese Maxey it appears to be at least partly a crisis of confidence. The shifting of Maxey to coming off the bench has obviously backfired. His defense was lacking and they needed to try something, but it’s obvious that Maxey is not in a good head space. Embiid spoke afterwards of how he “watches tape so that he knows how to adjust” to what the opposition plans to do to defend him. He imparted that wisdom on Maxey and now it’s up to him and the coaching staff to get him back on track. If Maxey isn’t aggressive he isn’t delivering what his role requires.
Now we get to James Harden as “rumors” of him wanting to return to Houston this off-season continue to surface. A few thoughts on that. One, top NBA insiders aren’t risking their reputations on a story like that unless they have verified the rumblings. It’s clear that they feel confident in at least presenting it as a possibility. That’s a problem to me. You went to Brooklyn to win a title, then demanded out to Philly in order to win a title. Instead of the discussion around you being yet another move, this is the time the 76ers need him to elevate. With the game on the line on Saturday he was a non factor, especially defensively.
When it comes to Philadelphia sports teams, we are never told to acknowledge tough losses as no big deal more than from this squad. It’s a “process” of excuse making that continues. The long suffering fan base doesn’t want to believe that they have invested 3 hours into a movie and that the ending is going to be terrible. That story has yet to be written, but the warning signs are glaring.
There should be no more SIXCUSES this time around. It’s time for accountability and that the biggest names other than Embiid start delivering. If not, we all know the ending. The difference is that this time around there will be some major rearranging of the furniture if defeat is the outcome.