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With Sixers on brink of elimination, Danny Green calls Game 5 performance ‘inexcusable’

Down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, the Sixers play Game 6 against the Heat Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sixers forward Danny Green goes after the basketball against Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker during the third quarter in game five of the second-round Eastern Conference playoffs on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 in Miami.
Sixers forward Danny Green goes after the basketball against Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker during the third quarter in game five of the second-round Eastern Conference playoffs on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 in Miami.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey are typically two of the most talkative and good-natured 76ers.

But their media session following Thursday’s shootaround lasted less than six minutes. There was not much to say about a horrendous Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals putting them in a must-win situation for Thursday’s Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center and, if necessary, Sunday’s Game 7 in Miami.

“It shouldn’t take [being on the brink of elimination] for us to wake up,” Green said. “Our last performance was inexcusable — just the competitive side of it, the nature that we came in [with], the mindset.

“Start until the finish, we didn’t come in with the intensity of a playoff matchup the way we should have. But now our backs are against the wall, so we have to fight and scratch to stay alive.”

» READ MORE: After a dreadful Game 5 loss, the Sixers are set to play another must-win playoff game in Philly

The vibe was more subtle than when the Sixers last faced some postseason pressure, after the Toronto Raptors won Games 4 and 5 of their first-round series to turn a possible Sixers sweep into a tight matchup. As Maxey spoke to reporters at Game 6′s shootaround in Toronto, reserve forward Georges Niang interrupted with, “Come on, Tyrese! There ain’t much to say!” That night, the Sixers dominated the Raptors to close out the series.

This, however, is the Sixers’ first time facing elimination during these playoffs. They can perhaps draw on last season’s second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks, when they were down 3-2 and won Game 6 on the road to force a Game 7 at home that ended disastrously.

Thursday morning, did Green see the desired intensity when the Sixers first assembled?

“It’s hard to tell the mentality in shootarounds,” Green said. “ … But I think the seriousness, the focus all the way across the board, is what we needed, what we like to see most days from the start.”

Shooting discrepancy ‘kind of unbelievable’

The staggering shooting contrast, for both teams, depending on who is playing at home and who is the visitor, remained a pertinent and perplexing storyline entering Thursday’s Game 6.

The Sixers shot 16-of-33 from three-point range (48.5%) in their Games 3 and 4 victories at home, and 23-of-96 (24%) in their three road losses in Games 1, 2 and 5. The Heat, meanwhile, went 14-of-65 from deep (22%) in those road losses and 36-of-98 (37%) in their three home wins. The outlier was when Miami shot 9-of-36 from three in Game 1.

» READ MORE: Sixers-Heat: Philly faces playoff elimination as series jumps to ESPN; Joel Embiid criticizes Bill Simmons

The customary belief is that many basketball elements unfold slightly better at home because of players’ arena familiarity, support of the home fans and other factors.

But this drastic?

“The way the home teams have been shooting it has been kind of unbelievable,” said Green, a 13-year veteran with three championship rings and bundles of playoff experience. “And lopsided.”

Game preparation ‘harder’ coming off clunker, Rivers says

Sixers coach Doc Rivers half-joked following Tuesday’s disastrous Game 5 loss that he would watch the tape, and then burn it.

And when asked during his pregame press conference how coming off a clunker impacted preparation for Game 6, the coach acknowledged, “it’s harder, in some ways,” because it is more difficult to decipher which mid-series adjustments may have worked if executed properly.

“You literally don’t know what you did well, or what would have worked if we had done it well,” Rivers said. “That happens a lot during the season. You hate that it happened in a playoff game, but it did and you can’t get those back, obviously.

“But every game, whether it’s awful or great, you learn some things — whether it’s something you could do more or something you should do less.”