Joel Embiid blames 76ers' struggles on lack of offensive identity

All-Star centerJoel Embiid is in one of the worst stretches of his career, and his Philadelphia 76ers are digging themselves a hole in the Eastern Conference, losing three in a row going into Thursday's game against the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Embiid acknowledged to reporters Wednesday that the 76ers (31-20) don't have an offensive identity right now.

"Like I say from time to time, you don't know what you're getting," Embiid said Wednesday. "I don't know if I'm getting into the game and if I'm getting the ball or not.

"Spacing is an issue," he said. "Sometimes we play fast, sometimes we play slow. But at the end of the day, when you think about it and as we try to get ready for the playoffs, the game slows down. It becomes a half-court game, and that's where we struggle the most. So hopefully we do a better job the next few games."

Embiid said the issue is not that players have tuned out coach Brett Brown.

"We haven't been winning. Our offense has not been good," Embiid said. "But I always say, coaches are not out there to make shots for us, they don't make plays. They can do a better job of setting everything up, but at the end of the day we make the plays."

On Saturday night in a 116-95 loss to the Boston Celtics, Embiid finished with 11 points on 1-for-11 shooting to go with 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers and a game-worst minus-25 in 23 minutes.

Embiid said that he sometimes struggles with trying to find the right balance between needing to be at the 3-point line and needing to be in the post.

"I got to spend a lot of time at the 3-point line, just to make sure there's some spacing," he said. "Everybody keeps saying, 'Get in the post!' But if you actually understand basketball, you've got to find that balance.

"It's not about me, it's about the team. Whatever I can do to help my teammates -- the spacing has been a struggle for us, [but] I got to do it. If it means I've got to stay at the 3-point line all game, I got to do it, at the same time still maximize what I do best. There's also a bad aspect: Every team is doubling me every game. It's hard, but you have to find that balance, have to keep going."

On Monday, the Sixers suffered their worst loss of the season, falling to the Miami Heat 137-106, and Ben Simmons called them "soft."

Sixers center Al Horford was asked if somebody needs to stand up and call somebody out.

"There's some stuff going on in our locker room. We'll keep that internal," Horford said. "But we all know we need to do better, we need to step it up, and it's a great opportunity to do it [Thursday]."

Brown, in his seventh year as coach of the team, also said he believes the players are still listening to him.

"I do," Brown said, then added, "You'd be better off asking them. When you speak to them, speak freely, and I understand the question. ... I'm not naive enough to not understand why you've asked about what you've asked. But I've answered it the way I have answered it.

"I look forward to coaching them. When it gets to an epidemic stage, this thing you are talking about, I'll admit that. I don't at all right now."

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