The Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans faced off in a close contest on Wednesday night. The Sixers won the game after Anthony Davis missed a final free throw attempt to tie the game.
The final score is actually a bit misleading, as the Philadelphia 76ers were in charge for the majority of this game. Of course, the Sixers coughed up a decent lead and almost blew the game.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s go back to the first quarter.
The Sixers torched the Pelicans’ defense early on. Which is impressive, as it’s anchored by the very talented Anthony Davis. New Orleans even elected Davis to guard Ben Simmons to start the game, which was an interesting move.
Joel Embiid started off strong, pouring in a quick eleven points — which would foreshadow the rest of the game for him. The Sixers held a good lead, leading 38-28.
The Sixers kept up the good play throughout the second quarter, which also contained the most aggressive the Sixers have seen Ben Simmons in a while. Simmons had 17 points going into halftime.
The third quarter showcased even more good play from the Sixers, as they kept their lead for the most part. E’twaun Moore started to heat up, but the team kept New Orleans at a comfortable distance. This was promising to see, as the Sixers are known for having third quarter struggles.
The fourth quarter had a ton of back-and-forth between the two clubs. Former Sixer Jrue Holiday began to remind us of the former All-Star that is he, and poured in bucket after bucket. It got to the point where the Pelicans were only down by five.
The Sixers began to choke when Ben Simmons dribbled out an entire shot clock with no real off-ball movement, and before you knew it New Orleans had the chance to tie and send the game to overtime.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry drew up a play for the Pelicans, which eventually busted. Anthony Davis got the ball at the three-point line and sent up an off-balance prayer. Joel Embiid fouled him.
Fortunately for the Sixers, Davis missed the final free throw and the ball was tipped out to the half court mark. Time expired and the Sixers won the game, moving to 10-0 at home (being the only undefeated team at home in the entire NBA).
There were many positive takeaways from this game, so let’s take a look at some grades:
There is an arising debate on whether Anthony Davis or Joel Embiid is the best center in the NBA. Both are amazing talents, but Embiid took this battle by a long shot. He was incredibly effecent on offense from everywhere, and New Orleans didn’t have an answer for him. They actually elected Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic over Anthony Davis to guard him (which is an interesting decision).
It’s hard not to give Joel Embiid an A for putting up 31 points and 19 rebounds, but he did turn the ball over at an unusually high rate and almost caused the game to go into overtime. Overall, it was a great outing for The Process.
Aggressive Ben Simmons is the best Ben Simmons. It was great to see him take this game by the throat and destroy the rim on multiple occasions. He scored 17 points in the first half, which is a great accomplishment by itself. The fact that Simmons achieved this stat-line while being defended by Anthony Davis is more than impressive.
Simmons also bounced back in terms of the free throw line, shooting 4-4. While he didn’t look to score much in the second half, he did achieve six of his seven assists in that period. The 22 points were a season-high for Simmons. The only real gripe you can have with Simmons is his turnovers, but even that is nit-picking.
Landry Shamet poured in a career high 15 points in the game. Shamet has been one of the best surprises this season, as he’s already a quality role player for the team. Shamet was absolutely deadly from three-point range, and really buffered the blow that was J.J. Redick struggling.
Shamet also looked really solid defensively tonight. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in basketball I.Q. Apart from getting into foul trouble, this was Shamet’s best showing yet. What a steal for being pick 26.
Jimmy Butler had his worst offensive showing as a Sixer, but fortunately he is a two-way player. Butler was very solid on defense and kept Jrue Holiday quiet for the majority of the game. He was very good in rotational defense and had a few steals in the close moments of the game. The Sixers are still implementing him into their offense, and tonight shows that. Going forward they need to give Jimmy Butler more touches in the clutch.
Wilson Chandler is quietly becoming a very important piece for the Sixers. It’s great to see, and it’s even better knowing that going forward he will be off a minute restriction. Chandler has been a great floor spacer and offensive talent for the Sixers. He has recently taken on the role of being their stretch four, and has thrived in it. Chandler managed to hit a clutch shot in the fourth quarter, much like in recent games. While it was on limited shots, Chandler produced well offensively tonight.
Apart from tonight’s game, reports came out about Markelle Fultz having a recent wrist injury, and also having second thoughts on being a Sixer going forward. Pay attention to The Sixer Sense as we will break down that article and offer our thoughts on the very weird situation.
The Sixers continue to play amazing at home, which is good news for their next game on Friday against the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.