The Philadelphia 76ers were already embarrassed and booed on their own home floor after a Game 1 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, but head coach Brett Brown wouldn’t allow for that horror to happen again in Game 2.
The Sixers held a one-point lead after a lackluster defensive effort in the second quarter, which caused Brown to be the angriest these five Philly starters had seen their coach.
Two veterans in particular seemed to enjoy the ire of their helmsman:
“OK, Brett, I see you,” Jimmy Butler said after Philadelphia’s eventual 145-123 win, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. “Yeah, he came in here, said a few cuss words, shocked me a little bit to tell you the truth. But I like it, that’s the type of energy I love. He just made sure everybody did their job, letting them know you can’t have it, it’s not winning basketball.
“I love the shit. I love when people get cussed out, yelled at and say, ‘You can’t do it, it’s your fault.’ I’m all for it.”
Butler has always been a proponent of accountability, often holding his teammates honest, which has caused conflicts and irritation in the past. Coming from the head coach can have a much more meaningful impact, and that it clearly did in Game 2.
The Sixers went on to put up a playoff-record 51 points in the third quarter, cruising to a 29-point advantage to start the fourth:
“That’s good, man. That’s always good,” said forward Mike Scott. “Cuss us out, light us a fire, that’s good basketball. I’m a fan of that.”
As it turns out, that fire under their butt was just what the Sixers needed to even the series at 1-1 to now recover the momentum heading into the next two games on the road.