Philadelphia 76ers: Who’s to blame for the Game 4 loss?

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

As the Philadelphia 76ers prepare for Game 5, let’s take a look back at the team’s Game 4 loss and see what went wrong at the Wells Fargo Center.

After the Philadelphia 76ers took a 2-1 lead against the Toronto Raptors, they came out in front of their home crowd for Game 4 and disappointed every fan watching the game with a dismal 101-96 point loss. With hopes of going up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Sixers dropped the ball after a commanding 116-95 point win, and fans are throwing their opinions out and pointing fingers on who to blame.

Starting off is the one player that really can’t be blamed, Jimmy Butler. He was the only Sixer to put up at least 20 points (Although J.J. Redick did walk away with 19 points with 66.7 shooting percentage) racking up 29 points while shooting 9-18 from the field.

Another player that is tough to blame is Joel Embiid since he was throwing up the morning of Game 4 and still managed a plus-17 in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, although he did only shoot for 28.6 percent for 11 points. However, it has been said by some medical professionals that he should change his diet and take better care of his body. Still, with Embiid’s injury history, this shows that not only Brett Brown but Elton Brand and the rest of the Sixers management have not put enough focus on getting a truly reliable back up center.

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Embiid was on the floor for 35 minutes in Game 4 with Greg Monroe scoring just two points in 10 minutes of action. Boban Marjanovic, Jonah Bolden, and Amir Johnson combined for a whopping zero minutes of action. One would think that Embiid texting the coach the morning of the game saying he’s sick would make that coach plan to decrease Embiid’s role and get more of a rotation going, but it is understandable that Brett Brown has confidence and trust in his star player, but still having three back up options not play at all is questionable at least.

Now to look at the player with the most minutes played in the game at 41, Tobias Harris who put up 16 points while shooting 7-23 (30.4 percent) from the field, as well as a minus-eight RPM. Predominantly known as an outside shooter, Harris had a terrible performance from deep, going 2-13 from deep. This Game 4 scoring effort is actually Harris’ best scoring performance of the series points wise putting up 14 points in Game 1, followed by nine in Game 2, and 13 points in Game 3. Not only does Harris need to step up to save the series he needs to step up if he wants a max contract offer from Philly this upcoming off-season.

Then there’s Ben Simmons, the other half of a combination of rising stars who put in 38 minutes just to walk away with 10 points off on 5-10 shooting from the field. As a first-time All-Star and a young but forceful starting point guard, Simmons should be producing much more on offense especially in a crucial game that can widen the lead of a series.

However, one of the most frustrating things is the fact that Simmons only attempted two free throws in the game; making only three attempts on the series.

Simmons isn’t a good shooter and is known for primarily driving to the basket to attack the rim. The Raptors simply had a man in front of him when he drove to the basket and Simmons seemed to avoid all contact. He seems to be at the very least worried about shooting free throws which means he doesn’t have confidence in his shot. Not only is it not the place or time to be having these issues, but it’s also a wasted side of his game that could send him to elite status, Simmons needs to get a comfortable, clean shooting motion and get his shot down.

To continue there’s James Ennis III who although is a bench player had an awful lot of minutes and failed to step up when needed. In 26 minutes of action, he only put up nine-points; going 3-7 from deep and only having a 37.5 shooting percentage. There’s also Mike Scott, who managed to put up a goose egg on 13 minutes off the bench with only three attempts.

Not only did basically every player drop the ball scoring wise, but they also failed to step up for their lack of scoring elsewhere. The highest assist total for a Sixer in Game 4 was seven and that belonged to Embiid. With three players getting no more than one assist combined. The Sixers showed up to the Wells Fargo Center, but when the whistle blew, and the ball was tossed in the air for tip-off, the Sixers disappeared.

Although the players aren’t the only ones to take the blame, Brett Brown’s coaching decisions also need to be highlighted. The fact that he decided to rely heavily on a less than 100 percent  Embiid and barely provided any bigs needs to be focused on. There were times where the Raptors were able to go on scoring runs, but he decided to keep his timeouts in his pocket. Brown also shied away from utilizing a traditional backup center for much of the game, instead opting to go small for much of the afternoon when Embiid was on the bench.

Next. Game 5 against Raptors may be most important of Brett Brown’s career. dark

If anything can be taken away from Game 4, it’s that the Philadelphia 76ers need to make a bunch of adjustments all around and step up their game. There’s plenty of blame to go around after they lost and let Toronto tie up the series, but hopefully, the team can look in the mirror see their mistakes move on and ball out the rest of the series.