The Philadelphia 76ers have lost three in a row after they fell to the Pacers on New Year’s Eve. Philadelphia has now lost 6-of-9 and in that time have the 20th ranked offense and defense in the league, with a -2.1 net rating.
It led to calls off accountability after the game, via NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I don’t think that there’s enough accountability in the locker room right now, honestly,” Josh Richardson told reporters in Indiana. “I think we got some new guys who don’t want to step on toes — including myself. I feel like we just kind of go play and don’t compete as much. There have been games where we have and it’s been great, but when it’s not going good we got to hold each other accountable, so I think that’s where a lot of our problems start.”
Richardson isn’t the only one thinking this way.
“In all honesty, I think what we have to do is look one another in the eye, look ourselves in the mirror and kind of evaluate and take ownership on our own individual play,” Tobias Harris said. “And then figure out where individually we can be better, 1-on-1, as a man, and come to the table to try to mesh that together as a team. It’s easy to say, ‘Hey, we didn’t play defense’ or ‘We didn’t get out in transition.’ It’s easy to say that but it’s hard to say, ‘I didn’t bring enough energy for the group tonight. I need to do a better job — me, myself, personally — when we’re in these type of ruts, picking us up and doing the utmost to figure out how we can get up out of a deep run like they had today.”
All season long, the 76ers have looked like they could play with anybody when they were focused and played with force; they just don’t do it nightly. On the road, or in games they think they should coast to a win, the 76ers play flat. Do that against a good team like the Pacers and they get crushed.
Every NBA team faces adversity over the course of a season, what matters is how they respond to it. We saw on Christmas Day what the 76ers look like at their best, they’re contenders. The question is, can they start to play that way consistently and build the habits they will need in the playoffs? Do that and they are a Finals team, fall short and they will disappoint.