After Best Game, Dario Saric Gets a New Challenge: Back-to-backs

Eighty-two games in itself in an adjustment for Dario Saric as he gets familiarized with the NBA schedule. Wednesday’s game against the Hornets presents a new acclimation: back-to-back contests.

“Everybody says, ‘Welcome to the NBA,’” Saric said. “It’s something different, I’ve never played. I hope I will find the energy. I will try to give a hundred percent.”

Saric enters the road game in Charlotte riding the momentum of his best NBA outing. On Tuesday, he scored 21 points (9 for 15 from the field, 3 for 4 from three) in over 31 minutes against the Magic. 

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It was a turnaround from his offensive struggles in the first two games of the season. Saric shot a combined 4 for 21 (19 percent) from the field and 1 for 7 (14.3 percent) against the Thunder and Hawks. He struggled to establish a rhythm and had trouble with the difference in the three-point line from Europe. Saric found a groove Tuesday night.

“I feel a little bit more focused,” Saric said. “I didn’t rush so much like before. I took good shots. Even if I started bad ... sometimes your mind changes during the game. After that I did well.”

Saric, 22, joined the Sixers this summer after playing his entire pro career overseas. Initially, the Sixers projected him to come off the bench as he transitioned to a new league, but frontcourt injuries created a need for him to start at the four spot. The Sixers acquired power forward Ersan Ilyasova from the Thunder on Tuesday, and the veteran could see time in the starting lineup with Saric moved to a reserved role as he continues to learn the NBA (see story).

In the meantime, Saric will continue to learn the ropes of his rookie season. He is prepared to tackle each game one at a time, even on back-to-back nights, knowing there will be ups and downs along the way. 

"Maybe like today, maybe it will be better," Saric said Tuesday. "You cannot know. A new day is a new challenge, a new fight."

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