Brett Brown: ‘We All Understand what the Math Says, and it’s not Flattering’
The Sixers looked impressive against the Nets, but as we discussed with Michael Lee from of The Athletic, now the real fun begins.
"It’s a hell of a team," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said after the series ended on Tuesday night. "They’re going for big things and I think they can compete for a championship, quite honestly."
Joel Embiid agreed with the Nets head coach assessment of the new-look 76ers.
"That’s what we think. We think we can win it all. Obviously, it is going to take a lot. You’ve got some great teams in the league," Embiid explained. "We just have to take one game at a time, but we understand that we’ve got all the talent that we need, especially to win it all."
To win it all, the Sixers are first going to need to get by the Toronto Raptors, a team that has given them plenty of issues during the Brett Brown six-year run in Philadelphia. The Sixers are 3-21 against in their last 24 tries against Toronto, including 1-3 this season.
"I mean we all understand what the math says with our success in Toronto, and it’s not flattering," Sixers head coach Brett Brown says. "But it’s also not directed to the team that we have. And so you can credit it or you can discredit it. I’m discrediting it."
The Sixers have yet to play the Raptors with their full roster, as currently constructed. The two teams last played on Feb. 5, a 119-107 loss in Philadelphia.
"I think that Toronto is as good as there is in the NBA. And we will be tested immediately when we get up into Toronto."
But this group of Sixers, as currently constructed, has yet to face the Raptors, and its something that Brown thinks should be taken into consideration.
"I think that we have a new group, we have a new opportunity\," Brown said. "I’ve got tremendous respect for the Toronto team. [Their] coaching staff has done great. But we’re excited to go up there and try to fix some of what the math says—our lack of success that we have had—and it’s going to be an incredibly tough series."
The Sixers acquired Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott on Feb. 6.
One way the Sixers can change their fortune is with their defense. The Sixers defense may have finally found their calling card in the Nets series and its something they may be able to lean on against the Raptors.
“It will be a different series if they can play defense like this," said Michael Lee of the Athletic. "But the key is the Raptors have guys who can defend them."
"The Raptors went and got Marc Gasol, who defends Joel Embiid better than anybody out there," Lee continued. "Embiid’s lowest career scoring average was against Memphis, 14 points a game. This season, he had 14.5 points per game against Memphis and he was 8-28 in the two games combined against Memphis. So, it won’t be Jarrett Allen there catching elbows to the face, it’s gonna be a guy who’s a former defensive player of the year and somebody who’s really hungry and eager to have the opportunity to play in the playoffs after some difficult years with the Grizzlies."