It’s not time to panic, so we can hold off on that until the playoff race heats up.
Remember last year? Fans were in an uproar at various points in the season with the same talking points. Sure, the Sixers don’t have JJ Reddick as the designated sharpshooter to help spread the floor on offense, but the team was counting on Korkmaz to be a cheap replacement in that area. As much as Korkmaz has underwhelmed in that area, Matisse Thybulle has been a decent role player in the rotation, capable of an elite level of defense Reddick was incapable of providing.
Just remember, the Sixers were one last-second shot from going to the conference finals last season and had they gone, I am a firm believer they’d have defeated the Bucks and gone on to the Finals. With that being said, I think everyone needs to relax until it gets a little closer to the playoffs.
It’s a long season and not worth stressing over to this degree. Regardless of the continued panic, Ben Simmons was outstanding last week and the Sixers managed to go 4-1 despite all the “Sky is Falling” folks out there saying otherwise.
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Bulls vs 76ers Jan 17
The Sixers had a pretty clean, efficient game last Wednesday, using a big third quarter to push themselves into a comfortable finish against the Bulls. The Sixers shot 49% from the field, but more importantly, didn’t fall too much in love with the three-ball, going 9-29. For all the inconsistent play this season from deep, the Sixers have been getting a lot more recently from the aforementioned Furkan Korkmaz.
In this game alone, Korkmaz went 6 for 9 from deep. Over the past ten games, Korkmaz is shooting 43% from deep and nearly 45% at home this season. The hot stretch has pulled his three-point average up to 39.5% from three on the year. Getting back to the game, the Sixers were perfect from the line (11-11), were +7 in rebounds and +5 in turnovers. Overall, it was a solid effort from the Sixers and it was good to see them stick to their strengths and not get baited into a three-point shooting contest.
Knicks vs 76ers Jan 18
This nail-biting victory had the stamp of “This game shouldn’t have been this close.” I don’t how much of the game the night before truly impacted this effort last Thursday, but it was an ugly performance.
The effort on the boards simply wasn’t there and it appeared the Sixers assumed they’d be able to just show up and the Knicks would let them win. Julius Randle (12 rebounds) dominated the boards for the Knicks, who were +7 on rebounds for the game.
Al Horford was just two of nine from the field and zero for five from deep. The Sixers went just 43% from the field and 31% from three. Luckily for them, the Knicks were substantially worse, going 39.8% from the field and 24% from three. It was an ugly game all-around and not particularly one to inspire hope amongst the Sixers faithful.
Nets vs 76ers Jan 20
For the second time in a week, the Sixers played the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn was without Kyrie Irving for the game, and Brooklyn played a decent game offensively, except for the fact they turned the ball over 22 times. Ben Simmons had one of his best games of the season. He was unbelievable and was the driving force behind the Sixers victory Monday night. Simmons went 12 for 14 with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks.
It was a tremendous effort from the young phenom and should at least quell the “We need to trade Simmons” crowd for the time being. Despite the heroic effort from Simmons, the Sixers were again poor offensively overall. Tobias Harris went just 5 for 17 (3 of 10 from deep). To be honest, the 39 three-point attempts were alarming, but given the rebounding advantage of Brooklyn (+4), the barrage of threes seemed okay, given the circumstances.
I’m fairly certain the 76ers turnover differential (+10) was their best of the year, and it definitely made the difference in a game in which the Sixers shot just 44% from the field and 33% from deep.
Raptors vs 76ers Jan 22
I keep saying it’s a bad idea when the Sixers attempt more than 30 threes in a game, given their inconsistencies (16th in the NBA in 3-pt %) in that department. When you have an advantage on the interior, you should be using your dynamic inside scoring threats to maximize your scoring efficiency.
Unfortunately, that sentiment doesn’t really apply when you’re playing a more prolific interior team. As long as Embiid sits, the Sixers no longer have a clear advantage over most teams in that area, thus we get a game like what happened Wednesday with the Sixers attempting a whopping 46 threes. The truth is, the game was close until later on in the fourth quarter, but the Sixers scored just 18 points in the paint, compared to 52 for the Raptors.
The Sixers made just 14 shots from within the arc in the game as they committed themselves fully to the three-ball, going 18 for 46 from deep. The Sixers were -8 on rebounds and just -1 in turnovers in the game, but the three-point party just can’t be ignored here. There’s no argument out there that can make an appropriate argument for Shake Milton taking 10 shots to Ben Simmons taking 7. I get that Milton went 3 for 6 from deep, but if you think it’s a good gameplan to give a 28% three-point shooter six three-point attempts in a game, you aren’t going to win a lot of games.
SugarHouse and BetRivers futures bet of the week: Southwest Division winner
There’s a lot of optimism this season for the Dallas Mavericks to come out of the Southwest Division as the champions, but you should be very cautious with this start. With the Mavericks sitting at +150 to take the division, don’t fall for it just yet.
Houston Rockets -200
The Mavericks have a one-game lead in the Southwest division as we cross the halfway point in the season. Luka Doncic has been playing out of his mind and the whole country is riding the Luka train. However, the loss of Dwight Powell for the season is much bigger than what most are saying.
Sure, Powell was sitting at a PER of just 16.28 and his replacement, Boban Marjonavic has a PER of 22. So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is, Boban is very effective against second-team units and in short stretches across the game. He’s not a guy you can lean on for 27 minutes a game like Dwight Powell was.
It’s a big hit to the depth of the Mavericks and should cause some issues going forward, especially with Boban’s limited mobility when compared to Dwight Powell. This is why I like the Rockets to win the division.
Currently, the Rockets are seven games clear of the Spurs and just one game behind the Mavs. I love the value they’re getting here, considering James Harden has been slumping and the team is still 5-5 over their last ten. Get it while you can.