The 76ers’ maturity will be tested Monday night.
Third-seeded Philadelphia will host the sixth-seeded Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 of their best-of-seven first-round series at 8. Brooklyn leads the series 1-0 after a 111-102 victory Saturday.
There were several troubling signs in Game 1 that raise questions about the Sixers’ mental approach.
Ben Simmons chaffed at the way fans booed the team.
ESPN cameras caught Amir Johnson showing his cell phone to Joel Embiid in the fourth quarter with the Sixers down double digits.
“Nobody accepts what happened (Saturday),” Sixers coach Brett Brown said Sunday after Philadelphia practiced at the team’s Camden training facility.
The Sixers, however, aren’t panicking.
“We’re fortunate we get to play basketball every day,” guard Jimmy Butler said. “We’re in the playoffs. We’re the three seed. It could be a lot worse. We could be down 0-4, but we’re not.”
Brown still believes in the game plan Philadelphia formulated before the series started.
“That’s always your fear,” Brown said. “If you choose the wrong path at the start of the series, and you feel like that after Game 1, you do what you have to do, and you make adjustments. But we don’t feel anything in regards to overreacting to the overarching plan.”
Philadelphia’s biggest problem came on defense. Nets players D’Angelo Russell, Caris Levert and Spencer Dinwiddie drove past defenders at will.
“The basics of the plan are solid,” Brown said. “We feel comfortable we can make some adjustments defensively that will help us.”
On offense, Simmons and fellow starters Tobias Harris and JJ Redick all struggled. Harris and Redick each made just 2 of 7 shots. Simmons was 4 of 9. As a team, Philadelphia sank just 3 of 25 3-point attempts (12%).
“I do feel like we have answers,” Brown said. “I feel confident we can help (Simmons, Redick and Harris), and they’ll do a much better job of helping themselves. Somewhere in the middle, we’re going to see better performances. There’s lots to be excited about.”
Philadelphia also counting on a better Embiid. The center scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in Game 1 but struggled with fatigue after not playing for a week because of a sore left knee. He is listed as questionable for Game 2.
Brown said while the Sixers will make adjustments, it’s important not to overreact to Game 1.
“It’s important that you’re at peace at some place within yourself where you’re solid and steady, and you’re not up and down all the time,” he said. “The playoffs can trick you. Family is in town. Media is at its pinnacle. You have to ignore the noise. You have to live in a place that is not distracting.”