Sixers’ growing pains, like loss to lowly Suns, should be no surprise

Twitter is never a calm place.

After the 76ers game Monday night, Twitter was even crazier than usual, which is never normal anyway.

The Sixers lost to the Phoenix Suns, who had eight victories entering the game.

The Sixers were outworked, outclassed and outhustled.

Fans on Twitter were screaming about the game being a “bad loss,” “disappointing” and “frustrating.”

Let’s remember this: the Sixers (13-10) are very much improved, but hardly ready for the NBA Finals. Veteran teams probably win this game against the Suns. The Sixers are not a veteran team. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are basically NBA babies, meaning they have very little experience.

This was a major learning experience.

Devin Booker scored 46 points and controlled the game in the second half. Fans on Twitter were yelling and wondering why the Sixers took Jahlil Okafor over Booker. Understandable.

As Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has always said, “There’s a team on the other side trying to win.”

The Sixers simply can’t show up and expect to win. It’s going to take work. It won’t always be easy.

All those losses during “The Process” weren’t easy to stomach. Figuring out how to win can be difficult in the marathon NBA season.

Wow, was that evident against Phoenix.

“A game like this is without a doubt a missed opportunity,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said after the loss. “When you have a goal to make the playoffs, we’re all going to look at somebody that’s like pick a number, 41-41 or 42-40 it’s going to be that close. And you only have so many times that you’re able to poke yourself in the eye. Tonight was one of those for us here at home and we walk out of this gym not feeling great at all about very much of what we did tonight.”

Also lost in the defeat was this: Simmons played and did quite well despite having flu-like symptoms. The Sixers were without Justin Anderson and T.J. McConnell, two players who would have provided the necessary grit on a night like this.

Embiid and Simmons must grow up quickly and that’s not easy. Yes, they’re immensely talented. But they have so many levels to go this season and beyond.

The word “clunker” was also used on Twitter. Can’t go there considering the Sixers haven’t won anything yet. At 13-10, they’re moving the right way. It’s about continuing to move and understanding what’s needed to compete every single night in the NBA.

“I don’t know what it is a matter of,” Sixers veteran guard JJ Redick was asked whether they overlooked the Suns. “They outplayed us tonight, competed harder than we did. Other than the Toronto game, that’s not who we’ve been all season. That’s not our team. We’re all disappointed. That’s not good enough. That’s not our team. That’s not who we’ve been. Can’t give you a reason why. Whether it’s we overlooked them … I don’t know. That was not our team.”

It was Monday night.

Twitter exploded.

Doubt it will be the last time.

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