WASHINGTON – By now, most of the 76ers are aware of Indiana Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke’s comments about hating them.
And they’re taking the high road.
“I don’t really care, because he’s not my coach," Ben Simmons said Thursday morning, after the shootaround at Georgetown. "He doesn’t coach us, so I don’t care.”
Fox Sports Indiana on Monday aired comments by Burke about the Sixers, who beat the Pacers, 119-116, on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center. Joel Embiid dominated that game with 32 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block. He made all 15 of his foul shots. He also received a Flagrant 1 foul for making contact with Domantas Sabonis’ head while defending on a play.
“I hate that team,” Burke said. “I really wanted to win that game. I think Embiid gets away with a bunch of ... the league ignores. It would have been a good one to just walk away from.”
One would think things could be interesting when the teams meet again Dec. 31 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Embiid initially had no comment about Burke’s remarks.
Then he said, “I don’t care,” in reference to the coach singling him out.
Apparently, Embiid’s not alone.
“I don’t care what anybody says about the Sixers,” James Ennis said. “We know who we are.”
Simmons added: “I feel like guys who are going to talk like that are going to be the ones on the floor. So, if he was on the floor, I don’t think he would be doing much [talking] either.”
Furkan Korkmaz considered the comments a positive in regard to the Sixers’ dominant play.
“Sometimes you play so hard in games, and the opponents ... don’t want to play against us, because it’s hard to guard us," he said. "It’s also hard to attack us.
“I think that’s why he said that. Everybody has their own idea. But we know what we should do.”
Told of Burke’s comments Wednesday, Sixers coach Brett Brown said he would invite the assistant to his house for Christmas dinner.
“Well, he would not be able to have dessert, because I don’t agree with him,” Brown added after learning of Burke’s specific comments about Embiid. “But he could still eat at the house if it was delivered the way you just said. If it was offered as a compliment to bully ball and tough and physical and yes, we have a post-up team … dinner. If he’s hitting Joel, no dessert. That’s how it works.”