Butler: 76ers not worried after dropping Game 1

CAMDEN, N.J. -- With the Philadelphia 76ers regrouping Sunday with what coach Brett Brown called "classroom-type stuff" to counter the Brooklyn Nets in their first-round NBA playoff series, guard Jimmy Butler did some philosophizing of his own.

"We're fortunate," Butler said, even though his No. 3-seeded Sixers dropped the series opener to the No. 6-seeded Nets 111-102 on Saturday. "We get to play basketball every day. We're in the playoffs. We're the 3-seed. We're happy. It could be a lot worse. We could be down 0-4, but we're not.

"So we're not going to worry about it, man. We're going into this bad baby [Monday] thinking we're going to win."

Before the team could set its sights on Game 2, there were some lingering issues to address from the Game 1 loss.

Brown said reserve forward Amir Johnson met him in his office before Sunday's practice and asked to speak to his teammates and coaches after being fined for having a cellphone on the bench Saturday.

"He addressed the team before the day began," Brown said. "And in my mind, there's not much more that can be done. We all understand there is zero place for that in our league or our organization. It's not the look, it's not the professionalism that we or he represents. Amir is a good person. People that know Amir know this. And so a mistake was made. We owned it, he owned it, we made a statement, and we move on. And I really mean that. We move on."

It's still unclear why Johnson had the phone with him during the game. Teammate Joel Embiid, whom Johnson showed his phone screen when they were sitting next to each other, said Johnson's daughter was "extremely sick," and he was "checking on her."

When asked Sunday about his daughter, Johnson said, "she's fine," before explaining why it was important to him to talk to the team.

"I really want to sweep it under the rug, and that's that," Johnson said. "I apologized to my teammates and the organization, and I hate that there was so much attention on the cellphone. We're focused on Game 2. Like I said, this situation, you just kind of want to move it to the side. There's so many media outlets and situations about that cellphone, and I hate that it ever happened."

Brown said he was unaware whether Johnson's monitoring his daughter's health was the motivation behind the rule violation.

"I really don't know about it," Brown said. "I really didn't even go there."

Meanwhile, 76ers guard Ben Simmons was asked after Game 1 to respond to the booing fans he told to "stay on that side" -- meaning if the Sixers get things right, they're not welcomed back on the bandwagon.

"It's Philly. That's what's going to happen," Simmons said. "I mean, I love it. That's how Philly is. If you can play or you can't, they're going to give you the s---, talk s---, it is what it is. If you're not playing well, they're going to let you know. But, I mean, I love being here. I love the fans here. I wouldn't want to be in a place where they didn't really care or only showed up when times were going well. So, I mean, a few years ago, we were winning 10 games."

While the team waits to see whether Embiid -- who is questionable with lingering tendinitis in his left knee -- will be able to play in Game 2, Brown said he expects much better performances from Simmons, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick as the series goes on. The three of them combined for just 18 points on 8-of-23 shooting in the opener.

"JJ, Tobias and Ben, they had down games. There is more room to grow there," Brown said. "There's lots to be excited about."

Simmons, who could see some time at the 5 if Embiid is sidelined, clamored for more post touches in Game 2. "I would love to be put there," he said.

Then he made a point to call out the Nets players who will be tasked with defending him.

"I think I could be more aggressive," Simmons said. "I got [Jared] Dudley and the other kid guarding me, so I got to be more aggressive attacking them."

The "other kid" Simmons was referring to is presumably Treveon Graham. Simmons shot 1-for-1 with Graham on him in Game 1 but just 1-for-5 when Dudley was his primary defender, according to data compiled by ESPN Stats & Information.

Brown said being down 0-1 is a fact of life sometimes in the postseason, citing that Denver and Toronto were also upset Saturday. It's just about finding a way to be the first team to four wins and moving on, he said.

"Nobody accepts what happened yesterday," he said. "You look around the league, three scalps were had by visiting teams. And it's just part of, 'How do you win four games?' And so much of it for me over the years is, 'How do you have that psychological stability where you don't overreact?' Where you're at peace in some place within yourself, where you're solid and steady, and you're not up and down all the time and the playoffs can trick you.

"Family's in town. The media is out at its pinnacle. And you have to ignore the noise. You really have to live in a place that is not distracting."

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