It’s officially time to panic. I’ve been holding off for over a month now, but due to the recent performances with both Embiid and Simmons on the court leading to this four-game losing streak, I’m firing off the flare.
The Sixers are in trouble and the trade deadline just passed and the Sixers made no significant moves to bolster the roster. It appears the team feels something will eventually click on offense but there hasn’t been much lately to reinforce that blind faith.
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It’s wild to me that after the roller coaster half-season they’ve had, they didn’t seem interested in making any big changes. This team was one shot away from going to the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago and now, they look like Detroit out there. The main issue is the spacing, or lack thereof when Simmons and Embiid are on the court. Teams are now paying more attention to Simmons, clogging the lane and giving the Sixers easy looks from deep, which the Sixers aren’t capitalizing on.
Sure, there’s been a few games here and there where the Sixers knocked down threes at a strong clip, but those games have been very infrequent. The Sixers need at least one more deadly shooter from outside. If they had gotten someone, it may have helped free up the paint and driving lanes for Simmons. Instead, we now have Simmons driving into clogged space, playing hero ball.
The only option going forward for the Sixers is to try to figure out how they can manipulate their current offense in ways that will help Embiid and Simmons find space around the basket.
Celtics vs 76ers Feb 1
The simple breakdown of this game is, the Sixers didn’t really have a gameplan for Boston, so they just jacked up a bunch of threes and lost by 21. Not a whole lot else needs to be said but I’ll say it anyway. The Sixers went 7-33 from deep in a game in which they were +5 on the boards. They went just 37% from the field and were -4 on turnovers. The offense has become stagnant.
The only thing working for them in the game was Ben Simmons overcoming strong defensive matchups and finding his way to the basket. The rest of the Sixers were an absolute mess out there. Embiid went just 1-11 from the field in the game, while Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown combined for 57 points. Despite the Celtics shooting just 8-30 from deep, the sloppy Sixers failed to capitalize, going 7-33 from deep.
Heat vs 76ers Feb 3
In what is becoming an alarming trend, Joel Embiid bounced back from his pitiful performance against Boston to go for 29 points against the Heat. The alarming part is how it seems to take a poor night from Embiid to spark a strong performance from him.
The catch of this was, Simmons wasn’t nearly as involved, taking only seven shots the entire game, as the Sixers were blown off the court by the Heat by 31. Despite posting a +9 on the boards, the Sixers shot poorly again (43% from the field) and turned the ball over 11 more times than the Heat.
The Heat played a strong, mistake-free game, shooting 56.5% from the field and 50% from deep. It was just a four-point Heat lead at the half until they managed to outscore the Sixers by 27 the rest of the way. Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic combined for eight threes, while Jimmy Butler put up 38 points in just 29 minutes of action against his former team.
Bucks vs 76ers Feb 6
The Sixers played the Bucks on the front-end of a back-to-back on Thursday. Despite all the concerns for the team chemistry and the three-game slump, the Sixers held things together and trailed by just three at the half.
When the third quarter came, it was the same story for the Sixers we’ve seen so much of lately. The defense was sagging, the energy level was down, and the shots inside the perimeter weren’t falling. For the game, the Sixers shot 42% from deep and it kept them around for some time, but the Bucks were simply too efficient. Giannis pulled down 20 rebounds and dominated the paint, scoring 36 points as the Bucks won the battle of the boards (+10).
Though the Sixers won the turnover battle (+3), they simply couldn’t stop the Bucks in the paint (+18). The Sixers also shot poorly from the field, going 37% on the night. Had it not been for such a poor job finishing around the basket, the Sixers may have pulled this one out, especially considering how well they shot the deep ball.
SugarHouse and BetRivers futures bet of the week: Northwest Division Winner
The Denver Nuggets have a three-game lead in the division ahead of the Utah Jazz. At this point in the season, we are over halfway through and the Utah Jazz has now lost five straight. Can Denver hold them off?
Denver Nuggets -143 (now)
Denver is starting to pull away in the Northwest Division. Over the past ten games, the Nuggets are 7-3 and should be favored in four of their next six games. Conversely, the Jazz, struggling with chemistry issues, are 4-6 in their last ten, losers of five straight, and will be the favorites in roughly four of their next seven games.
It’s really at that six-game mark you’d want to bet the Jazz if you’re on the fence. However, the time to bet the Nuggets is now. After the next six games, this lead could easily be five or six games, inflating the odds to closer to -250.
If you want to take the Jazz, wait six games and bet them then. If you take the Jazz six games from now, you may be getting close to +180 or so. Choose wisely, but these are the two best timing plays you can make for this division, given the schedule ahead.