3:28 AM ET

Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons called his team “too soft” for the second time this season after Friday night’s 123-121 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Playing without star center Joel Embiid, who missed the game with a sore ankle, the Sixers allowed Atlanta to rack up 62 points in the paint while outrebounding Philadelphia 44-30.

“Definitely,” Simmons said when asked whether physicality was the Sixers’ biggest problem. “I think we were too soft.”

The Sixers’ chemistry issues are real, but that doesn’t mean they have to break up their star trio.

In November, Simmons also used “soft” to describe his team — and Embiid agreed — after a 25-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets, though that was before the Sixers completed a major trade to acquire swingman Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Butler would not go as far as Simmons did Friday night and took issue with his teammate’s choice of words.

“I don’t like the word ‘soft,'” Butler said, and added 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

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