Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons called his team "soft" following a 25-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets in November. He repeated that description after Philly fell 123-121 to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
"I think we were too soft," Simmons said, according to ESPN.
"I just don't think we're physical enough," he added. "I think defensively, we're not taking it personal enough when guys score on us. It should be a pride thing when somebody scores; you should be frustrated every time."
The Sixers played without Joel Embiid on Friday, who sat out due to a sore ankle. His presence in the middle was missed, with the Hawks scoring 62 points in the paint and outrebounding Philadelphia 44-30.
Teammate Jimmy Butler gave Atlanta credit for bringing intensity, but he wasn't as critical as Simmons.
"I don't like the word 'soft,'" Butler said. "I just don't think that we did what we were supposed to do. I'm not gonna say that anybody's soft. I just think that we got beat in every aspect of the game. They came out from the jump and did what they wanted to do, and they did that for 48 straight minutes."
"I hope we're still together. Nobody pointing fingers at anybody."
Simmons acknowledged that the team's youth could factor into its lack of defensive urgency, but he doesn't see why that should stop the 76ers - including himself - from bringing a quality effort.
"We have to take it as a challenge," Simmons said. "You don't wanna come out on the floor and have guys go at you every game. You wanna make that a pride thing. You wanna come out and get stops and lock down your man. And that's everybody, including me."