Jimmy Butler Disagrees with Ben Simmons Calling 76ers ‘Too Soft’ vs. Hawks

Jimmy Butler Disagrees with Ben Simmons Calling 76ers ‘Too Soft’ vs. Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons in action during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks 123-121 at home Friday evening.

While the 76ers were without center Joel Embiid because of a sore right ankle, OddsShark listed Philadelphia as a 10-point favorite entering the night.

Looking at the box score, it’s clear why the significant underdog won. Not only did Atlanta win the battle of the boards 44-30, but the Hawks also poured in 62 points in the paint sans Embiid.

After the game, tensions ran high as point guard Ben Simmons said the team was “too soft,” per ESPN:

“I just don’t think we’re physical enough. I think defensively, we’re not taking it personal enough when guys score on us. It should be a pride thing when somebody scores; you should be frustrated every time. … I think we have to expect more from each other to get better and get to that next level. ‘Cause I know once playoff time comes, it’s another level.”

The remarks were in response to a query about whether Simmons thought “physicality” was the problem. Teammate Jimmy Butler, however, had a different take when informed about Simmons’ comments.

“I don’t like the word ‘soft.’ I just don’t think that we did what we were supposed to do,” he said. “I’m not gonna say that anybody’s soft. I just think that we got beat in every aspect of the game. They came out from the jump and did what they wanted to do, and they did that for 48 straight minutes.” 

Head coach Brett Brown was not impressed by the team’s defensive effort:

Philadelphia has lost two straight games and allowed an average of 120.3 points in its last three. Despite the losing streak, the 76ers (27-16) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while the Hawks (13-29) sit in 12th and have the fifth-worst record in the NBA.

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