Brown hopes three-day respite will help Sixers

Posted: March 09, 2014

On the second of three consecutive nights off this week, Sixers coach Brett Brown watched the Spurs-Heat game on Thursday. A former San Antonio assistant, Brown marveled at the Spurs' 22-point victory in an NBA Finals rematch.

It made Brown nostalgic. It also made him envious.

"It's not so much what did I have; it's this is what I want," Brown said. "This is what I want to help create. Because you see a team that plays as a team first. . . . That's what you hope to bring to this city."

The team that Brown currently coaches will never be confused with the Spurs. Lately, they wouldn't be confused with most other teams in the NBA. One of the few teams that can nearly rival the Sixers' struggles this season is the Utah Jazz, who will visit at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday with one of the NBA's worst records.

If the Sixers are to break a league-long 15-game losing streak, Saturday's game offers one of the best opportunities remaining this season. The Jazz are coming off a back-to-back, whereas the Sixers' three-day respite between games is their most since the all-star break. It has offered practice time, which has been in short supply since the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

That has offered time to help develop a roster of so much youth and so many spare parts. Center Henry Sims has averaged nearly 25 minutes per game since he was acquired from the Cavaliers at the deadline, and he's finally able to get some practice time.

"What I'm trying to do lately is bring some organization, offensively and defensively, where you have a little bit to call upon over the course of the game, a reference point to coach them," Brown said. "You feel so naked being able to coach these guys, so the last few days has been good in that regard where we've actually been able to practice."

The practice time has illuminated the inexperience on the roster. The games have shown Brown how the team needs a better understanding of "the detail and importance of possessions and playing in the NBA, where games escape you," and learning the pace and emotion of games is a necessity.

When Brown views the Spurs on television, it provides that template. He watched a game on Tuesday in which the Spurs assisted on 39 of 43 made baskets, a number that Brown repeated for emphasis. By comparison, the Sixers had just 20 assists on that same night.


zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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