NBA Playoffs 2018: Sixers’ Brett Brown offers Joel Embiid update, talks Game 2 vs. Heat
NBA Playoffs 2018: Sixers coach Brett Brown talks about J.J Redick, other veterans before Game 2 …
PHILADELPHIA — Brett Brown spent his first four seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers enduring through a steady stream of losses, but he doesn’t seem fazed by the new circumstances that come with a playoff appearance in Year 5.
Brown strode to a podium at Wells Fargo Center on Monday night with a smile on his face. With his team leading 1-0 in an Eastern Conference first-round series against the Miami Heat, the gray-haired sideline general responded to questions from reporters with jokes and long-winded answers before Game 2.
Here’s a quick recap of what he said.
On Joel Embiid’s status
Embiid, the Sixers’ leading scorer, hasn’t played since fracturing his orbital bone March 28 and is ruled out for Game 2. Brown said he couldn’t say whether Embiid will play in Game 3, but he did offer a brief update on the 7-foot-2 center’s progression back from the injury.
“Same old, same old,” Brown said. “Just moving on. He does his workout. He really hasn’t done anything like feeling a body. We’re slowly trying to move into the script, to the 5-on-0 stage. But to have any announcement on Game 3, that’s not gonna happen, because we don’t know. We’re just moving along.”
“He’s shot a lot, but as far as practices or feeling somebody, that hasn’t happened,” Brown added, “and I don’t know if that’ll happen tomorrow.”
Brown said the Sixers won’t rush Embiid back onto the court and will do what’s best for his health.
Sixers coach Brett Brown offers update on Joel Embiid before Game 2 of NBA Playoff series against…
On the team’s mentality entering Game 2 after a big Game 1 victory
The Sixers rolled the Heat, 130-103, on Saturday night, and Brown said it’s important to win Game 2 so the team can “hold serve” on its home court before heading back to Miami. Still, Brown insisted every playoff game was vital, so emphasizing the result in a single one is pointless.
“There’s been a little bit of a feeling out in Game 1,” Brown said. “They know us a little bit better, we know them a little bit better, but I know this: I know that we’re going to get their very best. I know we’re going to get the Miami Heat’s best. You can’t promise that we’ll break a franchise record again and get 18 threes. You can’t promise we’re gonna do a good job and come up with 17 offensive rebounds. That’s not how I see the world. We have to get better defensively … but winning Game 2 and overdramatizing it, I’m not going there.”
On Amir Johnson’s strengths
Ersan Ilyasova will take over for Amir Johnson as the Sixers’ starting center Monday night. Still, Brown offered pregame praise for Johnson, signaling that the defensive-minded big man might maintain a role in the rotation.
“He just is close to perfect with the game plan,” Brown said of Johnson. “He doesn’t make up his own rules in relation to something schematically that’s not on the scouting report. He’s a studied professional. He’ll go in and he’ll study [Eli] Whiteside and [Kelly] Olynyk; he’ll know their tendencies. There is a toughness in him that sort of contradicts that gentleman. He’s physical. He’s for real. And technically, he’s excellent with his fundamentals defensively and so solid, is the easiest word that I can say comes to my mind.”
Statisticians say the Sixers led the NBA in passes this season, and Brown wanted to make sure reporters knew the feat wasn’t an accident. And in the playoffs, when defenders ratchet up the intensity, Brown expects Philadelphia to rely even more on ball movement.
“It’s everything,” Brown said. “The pass is king. It’s the thing that holds the locker room together, it’s a thing that holds an offense together. It’s a stat that you can actually judge and monitor. We’ve repeatedly knocked out 30-assist games, and it’s not a mistake. It rules our day.”
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