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Sixers vs. Mavericks Postgame Quotes: “The past six days, the past three games, we have laid eggs.”

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers

Brett Brown

On what has gone wrong this past week for the team...

I think that the influence, that our inability lately to be put on our back heels against the zone, has crept into our defense, our psyche, our spirit and I can’t stand it. This is not who we are. It’s not who we are. As we’ve discussed as a team, there is enough body of work where you just respect the heck out of the locker room. I love coaching these guys because I respect them. I feel like our competitive spirit has taken a dent because of our inability to score. I think that anytime that you get into a mood swing that affects your defense because your offense is doing something, it needs to be addressed. When you say, “Where has this gone south?” I think I’m close with a lot of that assessment.

On how to address the zone…

Do you think we are not going to see a lot of zone? We’ve gotta get comfortable and organized, some of that is on me, in order to get through this. Once we sort of see daylight in relation to how to attack it [the zone], I think it will be “Eureka” with the team and I think we are going to take off. I feel like we can never forget that our bread is buttered through our defense. We have gone away from some of that lately. I think our competitive spirit has taken too deep of a dent, for me, because of some of the problems that we have had scoring and that’s not good enough.

On whether he is surprised that the zone is an issue…

I am a little bit. I haven’t seen that in this group and if we’re all honest, there are periods of a game where you can point to it. Before that [Brooklyn game], we all felt pretty good. We played competitively in Boston and showed “us,” but the past six days, the past three games, we have laid eggs. We have not played with that competitive drive that reflects this team. It’s not at all how I see the world. That’s part of the journey and it’s a long season. We certainly are in a stage where we have to get better at playing against the zone and I think that that is the source of some of the angst that I’m feeling creep into our defensive world and our defensive mindset.

The zone is not a thing in the league. It is a complete copy-cat league. The real issue, as I see it, this isn’t going to go away and if you went around the league, there would not be many teams that live in a zone like Miami could live in, or Dallas. Those that have tinkered with it will sit in it and feel more confident to sit in it longer until we figure this out.

Joel Embiid

On what he thinks has gone wrong for the team this past week…

Obviously, we struggled again against the zone and then defensively, we were pretty bad too.

On the struggles of the offense translating to the defense…

I don’t know. Obviously, if you’re not making shots, I feel like it has affected us, and we didn’t make enough shots. We could be so much better defensively. We didn’t do a good job against Miami, against Brooklyn and tonight. There is definitely a lot of work to do.

On whether the team was better against the zone tonight than they were against Miami…

As a team, we lost by a large amount. I wouldn’t necessarily say that we were better. We didn’t get them out of it and they kept playing it the whole game. Miami did the same thing and if a team is going to play like that the whole game, that means that we are not doing good enough. We just gotta adjust.

Mike Scott

On what the problems have been over the past week…

Of course, the zone has been giving us a little trouble. Shots not falling, which I think will come, but [we’ve] just got to get back to playing with that swagger, find that edge again. It’s been missing the past couple of games, so we’ve just got to find that.

On if struggles with the zone on offense have impacted the defense…

You’re not supposed to let your offense dictate your defense. [It’s] easier said than done. But yeah, we’ve just got to be able to find it on the other end and then maybe things will open up on the offensive end.

On any frustration among the team…

Yeah, no one likes losing. So, yeah, guys are frustrated, but we will come back tomorrow and have another game. [We’ve] just got to find that edge.

Al Horford

On the defense…

Our defense is not where it needs to be, at the level it needs to be. For whatever reason, it’s just not there. All around, we’re not playing good enough defensively.

On the team’s main struggles…

At times, we’re not necessarily in the right places that we need to be. That’s something that we’ve addressed, and we understand that we need to be better at and get to those places.

On not being connected…

I think defensively, there’s just too many blown coverages – the five of us not being connected enough every time. Sometimes it was three guys in the right place or two guys. It just felt very isolated out there.

Mavericks

Rick Carlisle

On the team’s performance tonight…

It was a great bounce back after the Boston game, which was a disappointing one for all of us. We talked a little bit about that this morning and talked about some simple keys for tonight and everybody came out with a lot of force and really played together extremely well. Very proud of the team, virtually everybody played well. [Tim] Hardaway got us off to a great start, [Ryan] Broekhoff came in and hit a huge shot at the end of the quarter, Delon Wright was great, I thought [Jalen] Brunson was terrific, [Kristaps] Porzingis had another spectacular game on both ends of the floor… if you’re going to win in this building, against this kind of team and this kind of athletes, you’re going to have to fight for it and we did.

On Porzingis’ double-double and recent play…

He’s a great rebounder, he’s a terrific rim protector, which we know, and then offensively he gets the ball in the basket. During this stretch of four games, with the adjustment in our style, he’s moving more or playing off of more random movement and activity and his teammates are finding him in good spots. It’s been a very positive thing, but again we’ve got to keep moving forward, he’s got to keep doing work on his body, and keep this thing going in an upward trajectory.

On how Dallas was able to do so well defensively tonight…

We got hot with the zone and we were active in it. Zone is not an easy defense to play, you have to play a zone defense harder than you play man. It requires more basketball IQ and more communication, and guys just scrambled around and played their butts off in it. We got lucky, they missed some shots, but our aggression was there, our aggression was in the game. It’s something we knew we were going to go to it at some point, we ended up going to it about four minutes into the game because the matchups were really difficult.

On making defensive adjustments in the zone throughout the game…

There are certain small adjustments throughout the game. When you have a guy like Embiid who’s coming up to the free-throw line, popping in shots, wiping you out on dump-ins in the zone, you have to talk about different things. And then they were running in shooters, they threw [Trey] Burke out there, [Furkan] Korkmaz, [Mike] Scott, and you have to find them because it’s a constant adjustment based on personnel… but the most important thing is playing hard in it and that’s what we did.

Kristaps Porzingis

On a career high rebounding night…

It feels good. It was simple: I was just trying to go after the rebounds more at the five position, especially today where we played in the zone almost the whole entire game. I was around the rim the whole time, so I was just able to grab those rebounds and get the offense going.

On rebounding in the zone…

I think we did pretty good, especially against a big team like they are. We did a really good job, so I’m happy that we got the win.

On the ability of his team being able to bounce back from bad games…

I think we do a pretty good job of that, bouncing back after a loss. I wouldn’t say that we played bad against Boston, but we were a little bit off offensively. At home, I don’t know why we haven’t been playing well, but it’s something that we want to get better at. We play well on the road and a very important part of having a great record at the end of the season is to be effective on the road and play well and that’s what we are able to do.

On why he plays so well against the Eastern Conference…

I don’t know, but maybe I’m more used to playing against Eastern Conference teams. For me, it’s just about getting back into my rhythm and getting back to my stuff and finding opportunities within our offense.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

On how coaching helped throughout the game…

Coach came in helped a little bit with pointers here and there and gave us his ones and twos following practice, so I just took it to the game. I carried it over to the game and it worked.

On how the coaching strategy has led to the team’s success…

He’s [Rick Carlisle] a master at his craft and he wants his players to be the exact same way. Preparation is everything to him and preparation is everything to me as well. Just him being able to come to me and talk about what I can do and what he can do to help, what he sees out there on the floor, goes a long way. You’ve got to give the guy respect for that.

On the team’s use of zone defense…

I mean, when we were [in the] zone the last couple of games or in previous games, we were down 15, 10 points. We tend to get back in the game or take the lead, just like when we played in Sacramento. I think we’re confident, but we don’t really practice it because we’re all about man [defense] and talk on the defensive ends. I guess that carries over when you’re playing zones and you’ve got five guys out there communicating your specific area out on the court. It makes your job a lot easier.