76ers, Clippers both looking to bounce back
The 76ers’ latest loss — a 129-112 road defeat against Eastern Conference-leading Toronto on Tuesday — may have been their ugliest yet. Philadelphia was plagued by poor field-goal shooting (41.8 percent) and dreadful ball-handling (23 turnovers) as Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard returned from a one-game layoff to put up 31 points.
“I thought we did a good job of showing him multiple bodies early, he wasn’t very aggressive because of that, he saw so many bodies in front of him,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said after the game.
But where Toronto truly got to Simmons was in the passing lanes.
The Raptors forced the reigning NBA rookie of the year into 11 turnovers, four more than his previous career-high.
“It’s a learning experience to me,” Simmons said. “The attention to detail on defense; offensively I turned the ball over way too much, which played a lot into the team losing. I put that on me, but I’ll learn from it.”
Simmons was far from the only slippery-fingered culprit for the 76ers against the Raptors. Backup center Amir Johnson had four turnovers in just 12 minutes, and power forward Dario Saric had three. Joel Embiid, who scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, had two turnovers.
“The bottom line is the bottom line — you can’t win with that volume of turnovers,” 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters after the game. “Obviously Ben struggled tonight in that area. We have to get going and learn from this and grow from this. It’s borderline impossible to win when you have that many.”
The Clippers struggled with turnovers in their most recent game, as well, a 128-110 loss at Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Los Angeles committed 24 turnovers in the loss, forcing just 15.
“The first half we couldn’t have played a more beautiful offensive or defensive game,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Second half, it was like we forgot all about it. We came out and one pass, shot, one pass, shot, no dribble penetration, all jump shots, all contested shots. Fouled a lot. It was 11-0 in free throws. That happens, you’re going to lose.”
The Clippers’ loss was perhaps more significant because of a dust-up between Patrick Beverley and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, after Beverley dove for a loose ball and made contact with Westbrook’s knees. The two engaged in a battle of words, with teammates, officials and even arena security stepping in. Both were assessed technical fouls and Beverley was given an additional flagrant one foul.
“Somebody walked to our bench doing all that cappin’ stuff,” Beverley said. “I don’t know what that is. He walked to our bench doing this and all that. I don’t know. Things went haywire from there, of course. Two competitors, no one is going to back down. No one did.”