Ben Simmons calls 76ers 'soft' following loss to Hawks; wants to see the team be more 'physical'

The Philadelphia 76ers certainly left a lot to be desired on the defensive end in Friday's 123-121 loss at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks.

With star center Joel Embiid out of the lineup with a sore ankle, the Hawks gashed the Sixers for 62 points in the paint throughout the night. Following the game, Simmons definitely didn't mince words as he called Philadelphia "too soft."

"I think we were too soft," Simmons said when asked what the team's biggest issue was.

Although Simmons was especially critical of his team, Jimmy Butler didn't seem to agree with those sentiments despite the Hawks securing 15 offensive rebounds throughout the night. When it was all said and done, Atlanta had a 44-30 edge in the rebounding department.

"I don't like the word 'soft,'" Butler said. "I just don't think that we did what we were supposed to do. I'm not gonna say that anybody's soft. I just think that we got beat in every aspect of the game. They came out from the jump and did what they wanted to do, and they did that for 48 straight minutes."

Aside from Simmons securing 10 boards en route to a triple-double, the Sixers didn't have another player with more than four rebounds.

"I just don't think we're physical enough," Simmons added. "I think defensively, we're not taking it personal enough when guys score on us. It should be a pride thing when somebody scores; you should be frustrated every time."

"I think that comes with age -- we have a lot of young guys -- but at the same time, I think we have to expect more from each other to get better and get to that next level. 'Cause I know once playoff time comes, it's another level."

The Sixers were expected to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season and that was before the franchise went out and traded for Butler. The team has now dropped back-to-back losses to the lowly Washington Wizards and Hawks.

Embiid is currently being listed as questionable for Sunday's contest against the New York Knicks, (1 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension). It's safe to say that Philadelphia missed his presence down low in Friday's affair. After all, Embiid is averaging 26.9 points and 13.5 rebounds while shooting 49.0 percent from the field.

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