Nick Nurse calls out Sixers’ effort, not using injuries as an excuse

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Philadelphia 76ers have suffered two consecutive disheartening losses at home. They let the New York Knicks get whatever they wanted while not executing on offense in a 128-92 loss on Friday and then let the Utah Jazz score 72 points in the paint in a 120-109 loss on Saturday.

One can use injuries as an excuse. The Sixers were missing De’Anthony Melton, Robert Covington, and Furkan Korkmaz while also losing Tobias Harris in the loss to New York before Joel Embiid joined them all on the sideline in the loss to Utah, but coach Nick Nurse isn’t having any of that.

“Certainly gonna have ups and downs in any season,” Nurse said at practice on Monday. “Obviously, it’s the easy way out is to say ‘Oh, we’re beat up and we don’t have enough people’ and all that kind of stuff, but I can’t accept that as the coach. There is a way we want to play regardless of who’s out there and that’s what I got to make sure to nip.”

The Sixers had a tough time defending New York on the perimeter in the loss on Friday as the Knicks knocked down 18 triples overall with 13 coming in the first half. Philadelphia was also not crisp on the offensive end. Then, the Jazz had a parade to the basket with the 72 points in the paint. That comes down to effort and Nurse is not going to let it slide.

“Whatever it is, right? The reasons of, again, I just don’t accept the effort,” Nurse added. “I don’t accept the lack of defensive changes and lack of shot challenges, all that kind of stuff. I can accept shots not going in, right? I think it all works together. So regardless of whether the ball is going in or not, you got to still be able to put some type of style of play together that you’re going to be consistent with and some type of fight you’re going to be consistent with.”

Lulls like this do happen over the course of an 82-game season. That has always been the case. However, Nurse is correct. There were times in both the New York and Utah losses when the effort wasn’t up to Philadelphia’s standards.

That is why Monday’s practice was a very intense one as Nurse tries to get his team back on the winning path.

“We had a training camp style practice today in length and in competition and all that kind of stuff,” he stated. “I think there was bits of about everything to prioritize. From transition defense to guarding to ball to shot challenges to all that stuff so we started in on it.”

The Sixers will take on the Atlanta Hawks on the road on Wednesday looking to get back on track.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire