The Sixers began their weekend of back-to-back road games in New York at The Garden to square off against the Knicks. Another tight first quarter against a lesser opponent as the starting five continues to struggle to find any rhythm other than basically just feeding Joel Embiid, which was the same solution they needed to bail them out of what looked to be an opening loss to Washington until Embiid took over in the fourth.
A small bright spot in the first was Tobias Harris looked ready to bounce back from his rough outing in the opener. He came out in the first and went 3-6 from the field for 7 points. He and Embiid combined for 17 of the Sixers 27 first quarter points. Harris would go on to have 17 points on 7-14 from the field. Not where he needs to be, but much better than Wednesday. He was also a game high +32.
Shake Milton was the first guy off the bench again as the Sixers continue to look for him to fit the sixth man role on the team early on, despite people already clamoring for him to start. Milton played 20 minutes in this one, but only had 10 points, as the bench somewhat struggled.
Unlike last year, we are seeing a lot more entire bench units early on from Doc Rivers, as we got a lineup of Milton, Maxey, Korkmaz, Scott, and Howard again. That lineup played 6:32 in the first half and 4:55 in the second half. The Sixers bench tonight all finished negative in their individual plus/minus while combining for only 27 points, compared to 82 for the starters. By comparison, the bench scored 43 in the opener on Wednesday.
Joel Embiid was THE guy once again, combining carrying a heavy scoring burden with tremendous efficiency, a great sight for Sixers fans. Embiid put up a solid 27 and 10 while shooting 50% from the field and only one turnover. A great sign for the Sixers was Embiid only had to play 31 minutes tonight as opposed to almost 36 on Wednesday. His conditioning has looked up to par to start the season, but I’m sure many anxiously await if he will be available tomorrow night in Cleveland.
Ben Simmons once again quietly filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists, but the story of the night really was Simmons absolutely putting the clamps on Knicks young potential star RJ Barrett. Barrett would end the game 2-15 from the field, and a lot of frustrating possessions due to the size and skill of Ben Simmons on defense.
Tomorrow night at 7:30pm The Sixers will play at Cleveland against the 2-0 Cavs. The Cavs will come in on the second game of a back-to-back just like the Sixers, but will have played an extra ten minutes as they needed double overtime to get the win in Detroit 128-119. Colin Sexton continued his hot start to the season dropping 32 against the Pistons after opening the season with 27 against Charlotte. Joel Embiid is always the guy to watch for the Sixers, but fans will be especially happy to see an old face in a new place, as Andre Drummond will continue his rivalry with Embiid, but now as a Cavalier.
Completely unrelated to the game, but I watched the new Pixar movie “Soul” today, and unless you are living out your absolute dreams, I highly encourage you to pass on this one. Incredible movie, great cast, some good laughs, but an absolute bullet through your soul, no pun intended. The Sixers were very on top of a great laugh from the movie however at the Knicks expense, which I’ll leave you with.
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