PHILADELPHIA — Some say the fans and media overreacted to the Sixers season-opening loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
Ben Simmons reacted to the defeat by returning for to the Sixers’ Camden training facility in the dark after the game for a 2 a.m. workout.
“We had to work on things and fix things up,” Simmons said. “We have to pay attention to detail, lock in, focus and be disciplined.”
The Sixers hosted the Chicago Bulls in the home opener Thursday night.
Philadelphia begins this season with great expectations. The Sixers won 52 games and reached the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
That’s what made Tuesday’s loss — even if it was just one game — so disappointing to fans, media and apparently Simmons.
The Sixers showed many of the same weaknesses — primarily a lack of perimeter shooting — Tuesday that they did in last season’s playoff loss to the Celtics.
“We’re just trying to find a little bit of rhythm — more than we did in Boston — kind of all over the place,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said before Thursday’s game. “We have to take that Boston template and learn from that.”
Brown admitted the Sixers played a perplexing game against Boston.
“All over the place, there were areas where you scratch your head,” Brown said. “We had 11 first-half turnovers. There were some quick shots you wish you had back. There were some miscues on defense. I didn’t feel like, at all, that’s who we are.”
One of the reasons the Sixers might have looked so similar to last season is that the team did little to improve itself in the off-season.
And Philadelphia’s two biggest off-season additions — forwards Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala — are out for the unforeseen future with injuries. Chandler has a bad hamstring and Muscala an ankle injury.
The Sixers sank just 5 of 26 3-pointers against the Celtics. Philadelphia needs to shoot better from the perimeter to beat elite teams.
“I think we have better shooters than the Boston stats would reveal,” Brown said. Brown wasn’t surprised Simmons went back to the gym after the Celtics loss.
Brown often hears basketballs dribbling in the early morning at the Camden practice facility.
The coach peaks his head out of the office to look, and more often than not it’s Simmons.
“I’m the first person in our building every morning,” Brown said. “He (Simmons) is a close second.”
The Sixers hoped that after Thursday’s game, Simmons could wait until daylight to hit the gym.