Doc Rivers On Philly’s Bench Struggling In Collapse Against Detroit: ‘It Was More James [Harden] Than Them’

The Philadelphia 76ers slipped back to fourth in the East on Thursday night with a rather hideous loss on the road to the Detroit Pistons. While Detroit has been feisty of late, led by Cade Cunningham starting to put the pieces together, it wasn’t a game the Sixers should be losing at full strength, particularly after taking a six-point lead in the fourth quarter.

On their way to the loss, the Sixers allowed a 23-2 fourth quarter run from Detroit, as the Pistons ran away with the game thanks to some dreadful offensive execution from Philadelphia. After a first half in which they dominated at the free throw line, the Sixers scored just 40 second half points including a 15-point fourth quarter, with James Harden once again struggling mightily from the field, going 4-of-15 from the floor for 18 points in the loss, as he simply didn’t give Joel Embiid (37 points and 15 rebounds) enough support.

There was plenty of discussion about the Sixers’ bench not providing enough, as they combined for eight points on 12 shots in the game, which was well below the Pistons’ bench effort of 39 points. However, after the game Doc Rivers wasn’t interested in shifting blame to his reserves and instead pointed to Harden’s struggles as being a much bigger issue, noting the bench didn’t have that many shot attempts.

Rivers would also add that he wasn’t happy with the offense’s movement overall in the game, in either half, and noted they haven’t felt like they’ve been playing together well of late.

These are certainly eyebrow raising comments with just six games remaining this season, and it’s clear Rivers is trying to get something more out of Harden as they get ready for the postseason. The question is whether Harden’s response will be what he’s seeking, or if this will only further the Sixers’ apparent chemistry issues heading into the playoffs.