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Game rewind: Quotes from Brett Brown, Ben Simmons and JJ Redick

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Resident Portlander and Liberty Ballers staffer Jackson Frank was in the Moda Center covering Sunday’s Portland Trail Blazers-Philadelphia 76ers matchup. He recorded audio from post-game interviews with Brett Brown, Ben Simmons, and JJ Redick. Here are the quotes he deemed most noteworthy.

Brett Brown

How Joel Embiid’s absence impacted the 76ers:

“Just really the reality of how much Joel means to this team. I’ve said, I’ll say it again, I think he’s a Defensive Player of the Year. You know, you feel him, whether you look at the points in the paint, it’s at 62 to 30, whether you look at the rebounding margin. And I think the guys that we had, we just struggled defending them.

Identifying the primary reasons for the blowout loss:

“We missed a lot of shots. We had a hard time defending them and the combination is lethal. When you look down and you end up a gain with 13 more shots than the opponent and, you know, only 11 turnovers, you wouldn’t think the margin is the margin. But, 8-for-43, 18 percent from 3’s, you know our wings were 14-for-46, and it’s hard to overcome that against a really good team on their home court.”

On Jimmy Butler and his struggles in the loss:

“He cares, you know he wants to know the nuances of the offensive, defensive side of the ball, and he should. But he cares and he works his tail off in the mornings. His work ethic is impeccable and tonight I’m sure he felt without Joel, he’s got to come in and provide that type of lift, and as a team, not just him, we didn’t do it.”

How the team is still working to fit all the pieces together:

“Maybe I could’ve helped [Butler] more, but he is an All-Star for a reason and as competitive as any player that I have coach. He will be back with us and hear that sentence ‘with us’. Like trying to find the ecosystem of this team and trying to get us in a team mentality and have an ecosystem, share and play together. That’s my main goal with him and everybody.”

On the positive contributions from the young guys:

”I thought that their spirit was good. I thought that they played hard. They gave tremendous effort in that last sort of half of the third, fourth period…Furk did some good things offensively. I thought Landry moved his feet. Demetrius came in, I thought, and gave us a little bit of a spark, running the middle pick-and-roll, and with his toughness. Jonah’s learning. At the end of the day, to be able to give Jonah Bolden some minutes, that’s always a good thing.”

What the team needs to work on:

“To me, you ask what is it [we need to improve], it’s the ability to defend your own man. Can you keep the game in front of you? Can you have an ability to slide twice and not get beat on the first dribble on a straight line drive? I thought tonight, we got exposed a little bit and we gotta sit down, be a little bit lower, be a little bit more committed, trying to contain the ball. Most of that, I give them credit. Some of it we own.”

Ben Simmons

If there’s anything worthwhile to glean from the film:

”Personally, I always look at every game, what I could have done better. How could I be more effective on the floor?”

What caused the loss:

“We win together and lose together, honestly. Defensively, we weren’t up to it. I don’t think we played hard enough. I know we had guys who were tired, physically, from travel, but that’s not an excuse to come in here and at least play hard, be physical.”

How playing without Embiid affected the defense:

“I think we’re so used to playing defense a certain way that it kind of backfired. We’re used to having somebody protect the rim a lot of the time. I think that’s one of the things we gotta recognize, that when he’s not out there, we gotta play a certain way and play differently.”

JJ Redick

What happened out there:

”I’d like to just consider it to be an anomaly, but I’ll watch film, we’ll watch film as a team, figure out where things went wrong. It was an interesting one.”

What caused so many defensive breakdowns:

”I don’t think we did a great job of just helping each other...Some of that is game plan. Some of that is getting the switch situations and just being in tough positions where you’re guarding CJ [McCollum] or [Damian Lillard] off the ball...Those situations came up again and again in the first half and we just did not do a good job.”

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