By Peter Gleason

The Sixers were swept away and out of the playoffs yesterday, and afterward coach Brett Brown looked like a whipped dog, making excuses:

Oh, if we only had Ben Simmons.

Of, we only had our starters for 19 of 65 games.

Oh, playoff basketball is different than the regular season.

Which is why, if Sixers management has eyes and a pulse, Brown will be fired after seven years.

He would have been fired a year ago, but the four-bounce loss to the ultimate champ Raps made that impossible.

I suppose he has a slim chance of a return after seven seasons on the bench where he endured a 10-win season and losing streaks of 28 and 26 games.

But Brown failed to mold the team out of the growing pains of the ”Process” into championship contenders, with a mismatched roster that included All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Brown seemed resigned to his fate after Game 4 and said Philly never got him at his best, mostly from the ugly mix of years of rebuilding, injury-prone players and a roster that was out of sorts.

Al Horford is near the top of recent Philly sports free-agent busts after he lost his starting job in the first year of four-year contract with $97 million guaranteed. Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson rarely played to their big-money potential.

”He’s a good guy,” Richardson said. ”He’s a good man. He means well. I just think going forward, we’ve just got to have some more accountability. I don’t think there was much accountability this season and I think that was part of our problem.”

After the early years of Brown’s tenure was spent cleaning out salary cap space and gobbling draft picks, the 76ers are stuck with a bloated roster and not much room for general manager Elton Brand to maneuver into a big move.

”Great guy. He’s an even better person than a coach,” Embiid said. ”He cares about his players. No matter what happens, I don’t make the decisions. I trust management. He’s gonna be a great friend no matter what.”

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