3 observations after star performance from starting lineup originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Sixers extended their undefeated mark with their full starting lineup to a perfect 13-0 Saturday at Wells Fargo Center after a 124-108 against the Brooklyn Nets. BK’s high-octane offensive attack, boasting an NBA-best 122 points per game, was not running on all cylinders with the New Yorkers missing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who were ruled out before the game.
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James Harden attempted to rally the Nets to another victory over their Atlantic Division foes with 26 points on 10/20 shooting, but The Beard and the Nets were trimmed in the 3rd quarter. The Sixers used a 14-0 run to break a 79-79 tie where Danny Green contributed a personal 8-0 run all by himself, part of a 43 point 3rd quarter.
The Sixers now spend the next week and half on the road with a four game Western Conference road trip starting Tuesday at 10pm in Sacramento.
Balance is Key
In Joel Embiid’s blistering 37-point individual performance in Thursday’s loss to Portland, no other Sixer had more than 15 points and that was Tyrese Maxey off the bench largely in mop up minutes.
Saturday against Brooklyn, Embiid was his usual dominant self, although not as efficient in 10-21shooting for 33 points (he shot 14-21 Thursday), but all five starters scored in double figures giving the team much more balance with others involved in the scoring besides the 7 footer.
Tobias Harris was thoroughly efficient in his supporting role to Embiid going 10-16 from the floor for 21 points. Ben Simmons returned after a one game absence to fall 2 assists shy of a triple double to go with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Sixers rocked their new, black City Edition uniforms Saturday Night against visiting Brooklyn, featuring an illuminated boat house row. Too bad the Philly landmark was 9 miles away from Wells Fargo Center because the Sixers could have used the bright lights to give them a better view of the rim from the three point line.
The Sixers went 3-14 in the 1st half in route to a 10-27 night from three point range. In Thursday’s loss to Portland the Sixers missed their first twelve three pointers as part of a 7-27 shooting performance from beyond the arc. That’s just over 31% in the last two games.
The Sixers take about 30 three pointers per game which ranks 28th among 30 teams. Meanwhile, the Nets also struggled shooting 15 of 41 from distance which is below their 3rd best league mark of just over 40% per game.
The lone bright spot for the Sixers? Seth Curry’s reemergence. The Philly shooting guard went 8 plus quarters without a single point but a 2-3 shooting night from outside could be what the triggerman needs to get back on track following a bout of COVID-19.
Big people eat little people. Former Eagles coach Chip Kelly wasn’t right about a lot during his stay in Philly, but that phrase couldn’t have been more true for the Sixers who dominated the points in the paint like King Kong at a banana buffet. What the Sixers lacked in perimeter shooting the made up for underneath. The Sixers were a +30 in the painted area with a 62-32 margin. The Sixers also convincingly controlled the boards, out rebounding the Nets 51-34.
Many experts have pointed to the Nets' lack of size and defense after trading Jarett Allen to Indiana and the Sixers depth and prowess in that area as reasons why there could be a gap come playoff time between the 1st place 17-7 Sixers and the 14-11 Nets. We have a long way to go until the Second Season, but the Sixers' banking of wins now against contending teams, and their 11-2 home record, are great building blocks to a high playoff seed and home court advantage.