Brett Brown will continue to go with McConnell, not Fultz

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly editor  

On Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers were out-played and out-coached by Brad Stevens and the Celtics. Boston defended the perimeter well, shot the ball well and carried momentum throughout the majority of the game while Philadelphia looked like a team that had not played a game of basketball in six days. While there are definitely some concerning issues surrounding the Sixers following a double-digit defeat, they've shown the ability to adjust after facing adversity. They did just that after losing Game 2 at home to Miami before winning the next three in the opening round of the playoffs.

In the first-round, Markelle Fultz was Ben Simmons' designated back-up. Brett Brown and the coaching staff realized that Fultz was out-matched on the floor with regard to physical aspect in the three games he played in and since that point, T.J. McConnell has gotten the back-up minutes at the point. It's worth noting that whether it was/is Fultz or McConnell, Ben Simmons has played 39+ minutes in four of the six playoff games, so there's minimal time left for the back-up as is. After Monday's loss, many fans are wondering if it is time to give Fultz another look, but it doesn't look like Brett Brown is quite there yet as he indicated at Tuesday's practice. 

While the frustration from fans is somewhat warranted, let's not forget that Fultz has had an eventful year. It's easy to jump to conclusions with Fultz after the year he's had now that we just saw Jayson Tatum dominate in Game 1 of the semis. Whether you believe Markelle's injury to have been real or more mental, he missed 68 games and then played in 12 games to finish the season off against mostly subpar teams before getting thrown into the playoffs.

While we saw flashes of what Fultz is capable of in his limited playing time this season, this is the second-round of the playoffs and it's not a big surprise that Brown is opting to continue to go with McConnell, a guy who's been in the system and playing all season long. 

The Sixers and Celtics resume their second-round series in Boston on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. 

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