Rivers says Sixers 'didn't come to play' in Brooklyn

Jarrett Allen #31 of the Brooklyn Nets controls the ball as Tobias Harris #12 and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers defend.
Jarrett Allen #31 of the Brooklyn Nets controls the ball as Tobias Harris #12 and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers defend during the second half at Barclays Center on Jan. 07, 2021. Photo credit Sarah Stier/Getty Images Sport
By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newasradio) -- While a Sixers player — Seth Curry, according to ESPNtesting positive for the coronavirus is much more important than the result of the ninth game of the season, new head coach Doc Rivers was a quote machine after his team put together a dud in Brooklyn Thursday night.

"We didn’t come to play, is what I saw," Rivers said of the 122-109 loss to the Nets — dropping their record to 7-2. "It was just, it was one of those games."

A lot of the time, the Sixers appeared to come up short matching Brooklyn’s energy. They cooled off from three-point distance — going 9 of 26. The Nets bench outscored the Sixers 53-28, with Brooklyn’s Joe Harris scoring 28 himself in reserve. Their defense gave up a lot of points for the second night in a row. And, the Sixers committed 20 turnovers as a team, resulting in 35 points for the Nets.

All this happened as Brooklyn was without superstars Kevin Durant (COVID-19 protocol) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons), as well as Spencer Dinwiddie (ACL injury).

"It was disappointing," Rivers said. "You got three of their top five players out. We had a couple guys out too, obviously, but that’s a game — extremely winnable game. Doesn’t matter where you’re playing. That’s what we were in the past when you show up on the road, you don’t have focus, you’re not ready to play basketball and you deserve to lose the game. That’s what I told them. I said, ‘We deserve to lose,’ and so we did."

The Sixers are 2-2 on the road in the early part of this new season. Before last season paused March 11 due to the escalation of the pandemic, the Sixers were 10-24 on the road in 2019-20.

Rivers pointed to a lack of focus Thursday night rather than any potential fatigue with it being part two of a back-to-back — with the first half going to to Sixers 141-136 over the Washington Wizards Wednesday. He explained it was too early in the season to be fatigued.

“It’s one of those nights. It was a tough night. A back to back. Low energy. But, I also think we kinda underestimated them,” new Sixer Danny Green said. “…KD out, Kyrie out, guys just think it’s gonna be a — it ain’t gonna happen that way. It’s not gonna be a cakewalk.”

The Sixers most pressing issue right now has nothing to do with basketball. They need to see how further coronavirus testing and contact tracing goes after Curry, who didn’t play Thursday because of ankle soreness, reportedly tested positive.

The news about Curry didn’t surface until after postgame press conferences were over late Thursday night.

As of Friday morning, three of the Sixers next four games through Jan. 14 are scheduled at Wells Fargo Center, while four of the next six after that from Jan. 16 through Jan. 25 are on the road.