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Sixers vs. Celtics Postgame Quotes: “His attitude and his attack-mentality right out of the gate was impressive.”

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NBA: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers

Brett Brown

On the performance of his team’s offense tonight…

I thought the guys were really good, especially in the second half. I thought that the execution, the spacing, the purposeful understanding of what we were trying to do was there. I think that there was a committed effort to offensive rebounding when we just didn’t make the shots. I thought our guys were very efficient and purposeful with what we did, execution-wise, in the second half, especially.

On what he was most impressed by in Josh Richardson’s performance…

It was a combination of everything. His attitude and his attack-mentality right out of the gate was impressive. He was extremely aggressive on both sides of the ball immediately. We talked about, and I never go here, but this was a close-out game, when you can go 3-0 on Boston. You don’t know where that may be cashed in at some point, if at all. In our eyes, in January, this was kind of a unique game. I think that with Josh Richardson, with the absence of Joel Embiid, with a chance here at home to go 18-2, we wanted to keep momentum going. I think that Josh drove that. He was our bell ringer tonight and I thought it started with just his mindset, his mentality. The statistics came out of that attitude.

On what he thinks has changed in the Boston-Philadelphia matchup over the years…

I don’t know. Their roster has changed, our roster has changed. Maybe we should just start there. I do feel like we’re starting to, not just against Boston, get an idea of our more purposeful offense by taking an unusual physical, skillset team and learning how to best place it. I thought that Al Horford, on both sides of the ball, gave us life, toughness and offensive rebounding. I think that this year’s evolution was born out of that. We’re starting to feel stuff out and we’re getting more familiar. In relation to what’s the difference with Boston, I don’t know. That’s part of the league.

On the theme before the game being ‘next man up’ and the team playing well…

I think they did [play well] and we had to…When you’re missing Joel [Embiid], you better have some people do what Norvel [Pelle] did and Ben with his limited minutes [at center]. Al Horford was huge all over the place and it’s true, it was next man up. We had to find something to take that massive void that Joel left.

Al Horford

On the team’s performance tonight…

You look at their team, they’re having a great year. They’re obviously second in the East and they’re playing well. I look at tonight, just more of for us it was a big game, it almost felt like a must-win. We’ve laid some eggs recently in the few weeks here, so we just needed to get this win, and it feels good to beat this team.

On being able to fight through this game without Joel…

It’s impressive. I’m proud of the group because down like that, like you said, early, things weren’t looking too great for us, and in the second quarter I just told the guys let’s just stay with it. Continue to work, we needed to step our defense up a little more, and once we were able to close the gap a little bit at halftime, I feel like that gave us some confidence going into the second half.

On why he’s felt more comfortable in recent games…

I just think that for me, defensively, we made an adjustment for Oklahoma City, changing the way I defend the pick-and-roll, and I felt like it was helpful. For me, I like it more that way, Coach made that adjustment, and even the Houston game I changed it up as well and I think that has made a difference … I think we really moved the ball and tried to play with pace, trying to keep up with Ben. He’s flying all over the place, making plays and stuff, so we just have to play different until Joel gets back and then integrate him and continue to figure it out as a group.

Ben Simmons

On playing without Joel…

I think overall, result-wise, we played well. There’s a lot of things we’re learning, and we’re excited to have this opportunity to have a different game style. Obviously, we’re going to miss Joel for however long he goes, but he’s a huge part of this team. Tonight was a good start.

On guarding the Celtics

I don’t mind guarding the big guys, I got a little bit of strength myself.

On Al Horford….

He had one of his better defensive games tonight. Coming up a little bit more and being effective while getting in there [the paint]. I think everybody played a huge role tonight, obviously, that’s why we got the win, but Al definitely played a great game.

Tobias Harris

On how the team played tonight…

I thought Coach did a really good job of putting me in some pick-and-roll situations. I was able to shift the defense and really make them make a decision on who they wanted to take away. I thought in the third quarter, our energy was great all throughout.

On Norvel Pelle…

Now defensively, I thought we really did a good job from the beginning. Norvel came in and gave us huge a lift of energy with his ability to block shots. His spirit out there was big for us.

On the first half…

We knew eventually a lot of the shots they were taking in the first half, and making, there was going to come to a point where they were going to go through a little stretch where they were going to miss a few of those. That’s when we really said we really have to be able to get out in transition and run and be efficient when we were in transition.

Josh Richardson

On how impressed he was with tonight’s effort…

We let them put a good run together in the second quarter, so we kind of made it a little tougher on ourselves than we wanted to. The way that I think about it, I’m proud of the way that we adjusted. It’s not easy to change the whole game plan that your team is going to have to go into battle with. I think we did that in a short turnaround and we put it to the test today and everybody did a good job at executing it.

On playing without Joel…

The few of us knew that since he wasn’t playing, we were going to have to be more aggressive because he is quite possibly the best center in the game and he’s a huge piece of our offense. We knew that it’s kind of a mental note that you have to take going into it. I knew early on that I was going to have to be aggressive to give our offense a good shot.

On using practice techniques with Ben on the court…

Today, we were just trying to explore those switches and it’s kinda easy to do when you got a guy who’s 6’ 10” and runs like a deer. He jumps like he’s on a six-foot guard.

Celtics

Brad Stevens

On what got the sixers going in the second half…

They pounded us in the interior. [Josh] Richardson was good all night in the pick-and-roll and he gave us a lot of fits. No matter who we had on him, no matter our coverage, he was really good. Obviously, they got those interior buckets; [Ben] Simmons got a couple of the hooks, Al’s [Horford] bucket and the and-one, the tip-ins. It’s hard to win when you give those up.

On the team’s offensive execution and performance…

Great early, not terrible most of the night. I thought we got a little pull-up happy at one time, but they’re hard to score on and I thought we generated decent looks … The last two games, obviously, have not been too hot, but today I thought we played better.

On how to deal with the streakiness of the NBA season…

The league is hard, you can feel pretty good about yourself, and one week later … not so hot. These guys just went through it over here last week, but inevitably there’s another game. If we play like we did tonight, clean some things up and play with a little bit more pop, then I like what we’re becoming. I’m just not as discouraged as I’ve been the last couple of days.

Kemba Walker

On why they were unable to get the win…

They outplayed us in the second half, they clearly just wanted it more. We had a good start, but we didn’t maintain our play until things just started going against us. We have to learn to close games out better and be more consistent.

On how defenses are able to slow him and the team down recently…

They’re just playing hard. I think we’ve established ourselves enough to get other teams’ attention. Teams want to beat us and we have to understand that that’s what it is, we’ve got to come out and we have to bring the fight to these teams.

Jaylen Brown

On the start of the game…

I think we started playing some good basketball in the first half, but we didn’t sustain it the rest of the game. Philly came out and played really well and made some tough shots and they ultimately won the game.

On what the team was able to do well tonight…

I think we played with more intensity than we have played [with]. I think we still need to take it up another notch. I think we missed some open shots, and for whatever reason, they didn’t just find the basket. But I think that we played some good basketball, I think shots just didn’t go in, you can credit it to Philly, credit it to whoever, but I think we played some good basketball. I think that you just gotta continue to work. We don’t need to hang our heads for any reason and just respond in the next game.

On whether he thinks defenses have changed after the team’s hot start…

A little bit, but at the end of the day, I just gotta make shots. I think defenses are going to continue to change and adapt and try to take my aggressiveness away, but that shouldn’t affect—that’s not going to affect me. I’ve got to get back to what I do best.

Marcus Smart

On the team’s start to the game…

Yes and no at the same time. I am, because we finally started off right, but coming into the half we kind of broke down. Then, at the beginning of the third quarter, we broke down again and let them kind of get on a run and get comfortable again. So, it’s one thing getting a great start, but another to maintain it and really finish the game. We’ve got to continue to keep working.

On the breakdown in the third quarter…

To be honest with you, we’re trying to figure that out, but we just haven’t played hard. They got easy transition baskets on us because of our mistakes and we just have to turn it around. Like I told everybody, it’s part of the game. We’re not going to play perfect. The game’s not going to be perfect…We’ve got a lot of basketball left. We gotta fix it and we’ve got to figure it out. So hopefully we can figure it out sooner than later.

On their mentality in breaking a losing streak…

You just have to stay positive. Like I said, you can’t focus on the negative. You’ve got to focus on things you can control. It just is what it is. It’s part of the game. You’re not going to win them all, you’re not going to lose them all. You’re going to win some games you’re supposed to lose, you’re going to lose some games you’re supposed to win. It’s part of it, but you can’t be negative and walk around with our heads down because it’s only going to continue to be a domino effect. We’ve gotta change the narrative ourselves.