Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler were in disagreement over the effort the Philadelphia 76ers showed against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
The Sixers, who were without center Joel Embiid due to a sore right ankle, suffered a 123-121 loss against the 12-placed Hawks, with Embiid's absence proving critical as Atlanta outrebounded Philly 44-30 and scored 62 points in the paint.
After the game, point guard Ben Simmons accused the team of playing "too soft."
PREVIOUSLY: JIMMY BUTLER HAS REAL ISSUES WITH THE 76ERS
"Definitely," he said when asked if physicality was a big problem for the 76ers, via ESPN. "I think we were too soft."
Butler, who infamously referred to his teammates as just that while back in Minnesota, disagreed, strangely claiming that he does not like the word "soft."
"I don't like the word 'soft,'" he retorted, adding a whistle. "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."
Simmons went on to explain that the Sixers aren't taking it too personally when teams score against their defense.
"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.
"I think that comes with age - we have a lot of young guys - but at the same time, I think we have to expect more from each other to get better and get to that next level. 'Cause I know once playoff time comes, it's another level.
"We know. We know we gotta be more physical.
"We have to take it as a challenge. 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."
What This Means
Butler saying he doesn't like the word "soft" is indeed surprising.
This is the same guy who called out the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for being soft ahead of his trade to Philadelphia. And it's one of the reasons why he wanted to leave the Timberwolves in the first place.
Jimmy, of all persons, should be able to take it when a teammate says a squad is being too soft. But, then again, he could be under some legal obligation not to use the word in reference to his teammates given what went down in Minnesota.