The Philadelphia 76ers are in a tough spot to begin the 2022-23 season. They are sitting at 5-7 following a bad road loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night and they are now searching for answers as they continue to navigate without James Harden.
On Thursday, the Sixers had more turnovers (17) than assists (15) and they shot just 6-for-30 from deep. They were unable to get into any type of rhythm on the offensive end and the Hawks, who were struggling in their own right, were then able to get into a rhythm on offense and run away from the Sixers.
After their third loss in four games, coach Doc Rivers blamed the health problems on the team for their lack of success out on the floor.
“Health,” coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “We got James out, we know that, but if we keep everybody else healthy, we can make a run here. Having one guy out, even though it’s James, hurts us, right? But we just need the continuity of guys together. We have a stretch here where we have some games, we have some practice, we have a chance to put something together in this little run coming up.”
Not having Harden out there hurts, but it is peculiar why the Sixers can’t come up with wins at the moment. Philadelphia was in a similar position to begin the 2021-22 season amid the Ben Simmons saga and they were able to find success with Tyrese Maxey at point guard and Joel Embiid being dominant out on the floor.
“A little bit of health.,” Maxey added about the team’s problems. “Guys being in and out of the lineup. Joel missed three and James missed, I don’t know how many it’s been, three maybe. There are certain guys missing, but at the end of the day, we gotta find ways to win these games. We’ve been in a lot of close ones. It’s been a lot of close ones that should’ve been Ws and those come back to haunt you.”
Maxey has a point. The Sixers should have beaten the young and rebuilding San Antonio Spurs when they were completely healthy. They should have beaten the New York Knicks at home when they were up double digits in the fourth quarter. These are games they are letting slip away.
“I think Spurs is one, Knicks is one, Washington was one, Milwaukee was one, I mean, I think I just named four or five right there,” Maxey added. “Coach keeps saying ‘We’re right there’, but we gotta break through. We have to break through and win those games. The ones that are right there in front of us.”
The Sixers will return home on Saturday for a rematch with these same Hawks looking to bounce back and turn these close losses into wins.
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