The Sixers took a small first step on Saturday night to continue their mysterious and miserable game on the road for the 2019-20 season.
They beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (109-89) and took a 2-0 lead this season. Joel Embiid led the team with 27 points and 10 rebounds.
As in the fourth quarter of their Wednesday opening game, the Sixers’ offense centered around Embiid as he lay on the floor. Embiid wasn’t quite as dominant, but still scored 10 points on nine field goal attempts in his first stint, which lasted 10:24. While some of the Embiid-centered possessions were on purpose, it’s a sustainable and sensible approach.
« This team needs to learn how to work a sentence into the ground, » head coach Doc Rivers said Thursday, envisioning that sentence often includes an embiid post-up.
The great Sixers man knew where his outlets were, so he turned them over and put the defense in uncomfortable positions by simply getting the ball on the post and kicking it out when help shifted in his direction. It’s clear that Embiid will almost always have an advantage when faced with a single coverage.
« I definitely feel more comfortable when it comes to leaving doubles, » said Embiid after the game. « One thing I want to improve this year is not to flip the ball. I had one today, and it was at the end just before I got out. I was very disappointed. (The extra shooting is) definitely makes me comfortable and it also helps my game because now if you want to double down I dare you because we are going to knock those shots down. And if you let me play 1-1, it’s either a bucket or a foul. ”
Will Embiid play Sunday night? He said on Wednesday that he wants to play every game this season. Rivers was caged on the subject of foreplay.
« No, we’re not going to share that anyway, » said Rivers. « I think the answer is you have to wait and see. ”
It’s easy to take for granted once you’ve seen it for a few seasons, but Ben Simmons’ versatility, athleticism, and elite defense can change the game. A good example on Saturday night was Simmons struck in a missed layup by Tobias Harris during a 14-0 run by the Sixers in the second quarter and blocked an RJ Barrett corner three.
Barrett, Simmons’ primary defensive game, scored 10 points and shot 2 for 15 after scoring 26 points in the Knicks opener against the Pacers. Now that he’s cracked the All-Defensive First Team, there’s every reason to believe that a healthy Simmons can become a staple. Simmons ended up with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal.
Harris broke a streak of 12 missed field goals in a row by losing pitch after a Knicks miss and converting a layup in the first quarter. He also made his next attempt by forging a three-pointer off the top of the key and looking for a midfielder.
His first stint wasn’t good defensively. Harris ‘assignment, Julius Randle, scored nine of the Knicks’ first 10 points. The 28-year-old later also picked up two fouls in quick succession. None of this is encouraging, although it played a sharper defense on Harris’ merit after Randle’s opening spurt.
Offensive, we’re still seeing too many of Rivers’ bag of tricks. « If he doesn’t attack immediately, there is nothing wrong with moving the ball over to a teammate, switching to the right spot for the team gap, and being ready to shoot when the next opportunity presents itself. « . The fact that Harris still scored 17 points in 7v14 is a reminder that sad offensive nights are not his norm.
The Sixers’ starters are nowhere near their best as a unit, but they looked excellent early in the third period, building a five-point lead to 16 points at halftime. Forcing the Knicks defense to work during that time, they shared the ball and looked for the best option. Seth Curry had a very good game, scored 17 points (6v8 shooting), distributed three assists and avoided sales. Danny Green still hasn’t found his shooting stroke, but he had four steals and seemed a bit more in tune with his teammates.
« I was blown to death by the first unit offense, » said Rivers. « I thought they moved the ball and played together. You did better tonight. «
The rookie had two points, three assists and a turnover in nine minutes on Saturday evening – no noticeable numbers. However, the way he gathered these statistics was impressive. Maxey’s basket came when he faked an open three and dashed in for a layup. Two of his assistants were assigned to Dwight Howard, including one he drove and took him to the backup center for one and one. During the preseason and first two games of the Sixers, Maxey seems to read the action well and make smart decisions without hesitation.
« Well, he’s young, » Rivers said before the game when asked how Maxey stands out from other Sixers ball handlers. “And he’s got great speed. I think he’s probably the more natural point guard of this group – although I don’t think he’s a natural point guard. So that’s what we see in him. But its speed is a factor for us and we want to use it. ”
Matisse Thybulle replaced Maxey in the rotation in the third quarter. Rivers apparently wants to keep Thybulle in the mix after not getting many minutes in the preseason with rotation players and only appearing as a substitute against the Wizards in the late game.
As you move forward, one wonders if Furkan Korkmaz’s rotation point could ever be compromised. Korkmaz, who scored 1 out of 7 field goals on Saturday, obviously plays the same position as Thybulle. Could Thybulle end up taking some of his minutes instead of Maxeys, especially if the Sixers need full defense?
None of the above thoughts are of great importance for now. More than anything else, Tybulles minutes seemed to be Rivers realizing the Sixers had a double-digit lead and saw this as an opportunity to give the player some season two for second unit.
The Knicks’ Reggie Bullock was forced out of the game in the first quarter due to an issue with his City Edition uniform. While the front of Bullock’s jersey has its normal No.. 25, the back said no. 23, the same as Mitchell Robinson. Oops.
Any promotion is maybe a good advertisement for these new jerseys. Bullock was allowed to get back on board after putting on a replacement uniform with the correct numbering.
New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Doc Rivers, RJ Barrett
World news – USA – Feeding Embiid, Simmons chokes Barrett, more on Sixers’ victory
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