Ben Simmons calls Philadelphia ‘soft’ after another road loss

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Don’t take anything away from Miami in this win. Jimmy Butler went off for a season-high 38 points — and he didn’t even need to play the fourth quarter — as the Heat scored a franchise-record 81 points in the second half and crushed the 76ers 137-106. They earned this win.

Philadelphia, however, has some issues.

The Sixers are now 22-2 at home but just 9-18 on the road, including having dropped 10-of-12. That led a frustrated Ben Simmons to call Philadelphia “soft” after the loss.

“We were soft… Don’t get bullied, fight over screens, get through screens. You’ve gotta knock somebody, knock ‘em over. You’ve gotta hit somebody in the face and knock ‘em down, make sure they don’t score, hit ‘em in the face.”

Mike Scott agreed with Simmons. When asked what needed to change, he put it simply.

“Not be soft,” Scott said.

The Sixers road woes have them sitting as the six seed in the East, four games back of Miami and having home court in the first round. This looks nothing like the team we thought would be a contender in the East.

Philly is looking to shake things up at the trade deadline and has pursued Robert Covington out of Minnesota, among others, but there has been no deal yet. Maybe Covington would have helped on Monday night, the Sixers defense — sixth-best in the NBA this season — just got torched by Butler, Bad Adebayo, and company. That came a couple of nights after Atlanta also shredded the defense.

If things continue to go poorly for Philly, including in the playoffs, Brett Brown is poised to be the fall guy. That ultimately may not solve the problem that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are both All-Star/All-NBA level players whose games simply don’t mesh. Still, teams will dump the coach and try that approach before coming to the realization they need to break up two outstanding players. That is always the last resort.

For now, Simmons wants the Sixers to toughen up.