Ben Simmons after loss to Hawks: 'I think we were just too soft'

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

It came down to the final seconds, but the Atlanta Hawks’ losing streak is over.

With just 10 seconds left in the game, forward John Collins caught the ball in the post. Quickly, he took a step back and drained the fadeaway jumper over Mike Muscala, lifting the Hawks past the Philadelphia 76ers 123-121 — marking their first win in eight games.

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The loss, though, didn’t sit well with Ben Simmons. And after looking at his night, it’s easy to understand why.

Simmons dropped a triple-double in the home loss, putting up 23 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.

Yet he felt his team wasn’t physical enough on Friday night, and didn’t take it personally when the Hawks took advantage of that.

“I think we were just too soft,” Simmons said, via Jessica Camerato. “I just don’t think we are physical enough. I think defensively, we are not taking it personal enough when guys score on is. It should be a pride thing. When someone scores on you, you should be frustrated every time.”

Jimmy Butler — who led the 76ers with 30 points, however had a critical turnover and a pair of missed free throws in the final minute — didn’t agree with Simmons’ assessment.

“I don’t like the word ‘soft,'” Butler said, via Camerato. “I just don’t think that we did what we were supposed to do. I wouldn’t say that anybody is soft. I just think that we got beat in every aspect of the game.”

The 76ers were also playing without Joel Embiid, who is out with a sore ankle, which explains why they struggled in the post. The Hawks scored 62 of their 123 points in the paint, and outrebounded Philadelphia 44-30, absolutely dominating inside.

While that definitely changes their dynamic on the floor, coach Brett Brown said the loss can’t fall on Embiid’s shoulders. It’s a defensive problem as a whole.

”You can start all over the place and whether it’s Joel or not Joel, you know we should be better defensively,” Brown told the Associated Press. ”It’s where we anchored our program and at the moment, we are poor. Right now, lately, we have been poor.”

Ben Simmons thought the 76ers were just too “soft” on Friday night in their loss to the Atlanta Hawks. (AP/Matt Slocum)
Ben Simmons thought the 76ers were just too “soft” on Friday night in their loss to the Atlanta Hawks. (AP/Matt Slocum)

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