MIAMI – Brett Brown shared something Saturday about 76ers tandem Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid that folks in Philadelphia have known for some time.
“I think that those two players have a chance to be great, and they are ours,” the coach said after the Sixers 106-102 Game 4 victory over the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“Joel Embiid has no right to be doing some of those things he is doing,” Brown added. “He did struggle offensively, but he was massive defensively.”
The coach also believes that Simmons is one of those players who rarely get tired.
On Saturday afternoon, Simmons finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, four steals and seven turnovers in 39 minutes, 2 seconds. He became the first rookie to record a postseason triple-double since Hall of Famer Magic Johnson did it in 1980.
Simmons is averaging 19.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 9.8 assists and 2.5 steals in the four postseason games.
Embiid had 14 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and eight turnovers. He shot just 2-for-11 from the field, but was a dominant presence. The all-star center is averaging 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and four blocks in two playoff games. He missed the first two and 10 straight games total due to a fractured orbital bone near his left eye.
“There is greatness in both of those players,” Brown said. “They coexist well. Those two guys were exceptional tonight.”
Spoelstra doesn’t think fine was warranted
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t think Justise Winslow intentionally stepping on the popped-out lens of Joel Embiid’s face mask in Game 3 was a fineable offense. However, the NBA fined the Heat reserve $15,000 on Friday.
“But we get it,” Spoelstra said. “It adds to the side stories to what’s really going on. It’s a good series going on.”
The mask was damaged by Kelly Olynyk’s arm with 7 minutes, 56 seconds left in the second quarter. The lens popped off the mask. After purposely stepping on it, Winslow tried to break the lens with his hands.
Fultz doesn’t leave bench
Sixers first-overall pick Markelle Fultz did not play in Saturday’s game. This came after Fultz played just 4:38 in Game 2 and 4:21 in Game 3.
“The decision of how I play him and use him is going to be fluid,” Brown said.