Sixers discuss struggles against zone defense Magic employed in win

Sixers discuss struggles against zone defense Magic employed in win
© Provided by Sixers Wire

The Philadelphia 76ers were able to come away with a 101-96 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday, but it certainly didn’t come easily. Even when the Sixers built a 16-point lead and threatened to pull away, they ran into a familiar foe and they had some issues attacking the Magic after halftime.

The Sixers were outscored 35-27 in the third quarter and shot only 38.5% while turning the ball over three times as the Magic turned to a zone defense to try and slow them down. It would have been worse if it wasn’t for Seth Curry knocking down a couple of 3-pointers to help bust that zone a bit.

The Sixers have had their issues against a zone defense in the past and Monday was a bit of the same. They had been better recently, but those familiar issues popped up against the Magic.

“We’ve had no problem with the zone overall, but tonight it’s hard to beat the zone when there’s no movement, there’s no downhill attacks,” said coach Doc Rivers. “It was a slow zone offense. We finally came out after two timeouts and ran our zone offense and scored both times because it was paced. The ball was just sticking tonight it wasn’t moving. We didn’t get in the paint enough.”

The job of getting into the paint falls on Tyrese Maxey who had a solid night of nine points, nine assists, and eight rebounds, but he shot only 2-for-12 from the floor and he was not able to create the shots he usually does for others.

“I didn’t think he had great energy,” said Rivers of Maxey. “I thought he settled a lot early. Rarely did you see him in the paint. Most of the assists for the whole team came off the zone when we just passed the ball. I don’t think anyone played well.”

With the Sixers having shooters like Curry and Danny Green, they should have been able to bust the zone and be able to have success. The execution was just not there in this one.

“I don’t think we did good at all,” said Curry. “We gotta be smarter with picking our spots, it should be easy to pick apart and get the ball to the right spots. In the second half, we didn’t play good basketball at all.”

Despite the win, the Sixers looked to be thrown off by the zone. As soon as the Magic went to it, Philadelphia looked a little confused and it took them a bit to figure it out. That is something that has to be addressed moving forward.

“I thought when they first presented it in the third quarter, it kinda stunned us a little bit,” said Tobias Harris. “We missed a couple of shots that could’ve fell and then we passed up a couple of ones and then it kinda allowed the team to get confident. So it’s something we just gotta get better at. We gotta figure out some driving lanes, it was kinda tough cause they do got shot-blockers.”

It’s another lesson for the Sixers to learn as they move forward with their season. They begin a 4-game road trip on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics.

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

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