CLEVELAND – It’s all about the big picture for the 76ers.
They want to win whenever they hit the court. But they’re not going to panic during losing streaks or after losses to struggling teams.
“All I really care about is delivering a team to the middle of April, and healthy, confident [for the playoffs],” coach Brett Brown said before Sunday’s 128-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “And we are all on the same page. That’s completely most on my mind.”
The Sixers (20-11) headed into the contest at Quicken Loans Arena after rare consecutive losses at Wells Fargo Center to the Indiana Pacers (Friday) and Brooklyn Nets (Wednesday). They had dropped from third to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings following Friday’s setback.
Sunday’s victory moved them into fourth place, a game ahead of the Boston Celtics, who are 18-11. They’re a half-game behind the third-place Pacers (20-10).
“To navigate whether it’s a trade, an injury, whatever it is, to be able to have my team to stay grounded and understand what is the end game,” Brown said. “To say it and sell it and to coach it and to be it is on me.”
“I think we do a pretty good job of doing that.”
Thinking big picture was Brown’s message to his team during a film session following Saturday’s flight to Cleveland. The message was redelivered during another film session during Sunday morning’s breakfast meeting.
“After a loss, if you hang onto that loss for another week, that’s how losses start to build up,” T.J. McConnell said. “If you think we’re good enough, we just have to fix a few things. That’s when you start stringing wins together and forgetting about the losses.”
Embiid’s historic presence
Joel Embiid finished with a game-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds and a block against the Cavs (7-23). That gives him 806 points, 402 rebounds and 56 blocks in the first 30 games of the season. Embiid becomes the first NBA player to produce those numbers in the first 30 games since Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal did it during the 1999-2000 season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Embiid and Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain are the only Sixers to have at least 806 points and 402 rebounds. Chamberlain did it during the 1965-66 season. Blocked shots weren’t an official stat when Chamberlain played.