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Sixers discuss their struggles against zone defense in loss to Clippers

The Philadelphia 76ers have a lot of talent on their roster even with Ben Simmons not playing, but they continue to have issues when the opposition goes to a zone defense.

In Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sixers saw a bit of a matchup zone in the third quarter when they were up by 24. A matchup zone is essentially a scheme that combines elements of a man-to-man and a zone that can throw off a team’s offense at times.

The Sixers had issues with it in the third quarter on Friday as they went through a long stretch of time without scoring the ball and turning the ball over. That is something that contributed to Philadelphia letting the big lead slip away as they had issues executing against it.

“I will agree,” said Tyrese Maxey. “We just gotta get into our stuff earlier as soon as we see it. Get into our stuff and execute. We know what to do, we know what to run when we see zone, and we just gotta execute it.”

The Sixers had issues getting into the paint and attacking as they did when they built up their big lead. The Clippers used their length and their scheme to really get into the Sixers and disrupt everything they wanted to do on that end.

“I think when they went to the zone, it kind of pushed us back a little bit on our feet,” said Tobias Harris “Really, we should’ve been attacking the middle and creating straight-line drives, but during the stretch where they had the zone, we were just throwing the ball around the perimeter. We weren’t really creating any movement, or any actions to get downhill. So, I thought that was a key to the game too.”

When it comes to a zone, teams have to attack the middle and kick it out to open triples. The Sixers weren’t able to do so and that created a lot of turnovers and a lot of bad shots. That is when a guy like Maxey has to try and attack it with his speed and quickness.

“When a team goes zone, you either have to get straight-line drives to the basket or 3s,” Harris added. “During that stretch, we weren’t getting either of those.”

Maybe that stretch is where the Sixers were missing injured guard Seth Curry the most. As they were struggling with the zone the Clippers threw, they could have used Curry’s shooting prowess as well as his ability to put the ball on the floor.

“Offensively we missed him,” Harris added. “Just his 3-point shooting, playmaking as well. When guys are out and have a role for our team, we are going to miss them, but to be honest with you, we were up 20 points and we should’ve won the game. We still would’ve missed him then with a win, but at the end of the day, that should’ve been our game, for sure.”

The Sixers will now look to bounce back on Sunday when they take on the San Antonio Spurs on the road.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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