After Thursday’s 108-103 loss to the Boston Celtics that put the 76ers down 2-0 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal, Sixers coach Brett Brown was defiant when discussing his strategy.
Trailing by as many as 22 points in the second quarter, Boston cut the deficit to 56-51 at halftime. The Celtics finished the second quarter on a 21-5 run and through it all, Brown refused to call a timeout.
“If I had to do it again, I’d do the same thing,” Brown said after the game.
Given some time to reflect Brown, slightly changed his tune.
“The question of whether you could have used a timeout in the last part of that second period, you could have,” Brown said after Friday’s practice.
He then talked about why he was hesitant to do so.
“We have the league’s No. 1-rated starting five, is a fact,” he said. “Those five guys have shown great maturity, they have shown they can sustain different types of runs and still hold the fort.”
Brown said it was discussed with his staff whether to use a timeout as Boston was making the run.
“There were a few times,” Brown said. “I mentioned there was one with (Terry) Rozier with his Euro-step that as I watched in the light of day, that was a moment you could have done it.”
Rozier, who is averaging 24.5 points in the two wins, scored on finger roll layup, with 2 minutes and 29 seconds left in the second quarter to cut the Sixers’ lead to 53-40 in the play Brown was referring to.
Yet a timeout wasn’t called, thus bringing on all the second-guessing.
“And as I admit, if you had to do it again, maybe you would have,” he said about calling a timeout. “But I think that the confidence I have in that group has been earned and is not something we sort of construct in our mind.”
Anderson an X-factor
Justin Anderson could be an X-factor for the 76ers.
The reserve swingman brings a physicality that has been missing from the Sixers in the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Boston Celtics.
“Having to sit and watch it was tough obviously, but I have to wait until my number is called,” Anderson said 30 minutes after Thursday night’s loss.
A team player, the third-year veteran hasn’t complained about his lack of involvement. He didn’t play on Thursday after being on the floor for only 5:16 in Monday’s 117-101 Game 1 loss.
The Sixers shrunk their rotation to nine players on Thursday. As a result, backup point guard T.J. McConnell and reserve shooting guard Marco Belinelli were the only non-starting perimeter players to see action. One of the league’s top sharpshooters, it’s hard to argue against playing Belinelli.
However, the defensive presence that Anderson provides was missing. As a result, the Celtics guards and wings have been taking advantage of the mismatches.
Like his teammates, Anderson is interested to see what adjustments are made for Game 3.
“I’m going to give it some time, walk away, let everybody breathe for a second,” he said. “Look at the film and see what we could have done better. Look at the game. Watch the game again.
“But the biggest thing for me … it was a hard-fought game. I just want to be able to be out there and be physical for us,” Anderson said, “and do what I do best, I guess.”
The 24-year-old is averaging 1.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 5.8 minutes in five postseason performances. His best game came in Game 3 of the conference quarterfinals against the Miami Heat. Anderson scored six points on 2-for-3 shooting — all three-point attempts — to go with four rebounds in 9:18 of action. He also frustrated Dwyane Wade, setting the tone in an important victory.