The 76ers began the week at 26-14, played four games, and split at 2-2.
Philadelphia now sits at 28-16, which is good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. Let’s run through some quick hits:
The 76ers were primed with a great chance to sweep this week and gain ground in the East. Philadelphia let that chance slip away.
With games against the Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, and New York Knicks, Philadelphia had no excuse to win these games.
They would begin the week with a win against the Wizards at home, just to give it back the next day against the Wizards in Washington.
The 76ers followed that ugly loss to the lowly Wizards with another ugly loss to the reeling Hawks at home.
It was another night of Philly playing down to a lowly team, and another night where a middle of the road NBA guard in Kevin Huerter, left looking like a prolific scorer.
Huerter dropped an unexpected 29 points on the 76ers, and it left fans with a familiar feeling.
John Collins, who had 25 points for the Hawks, hit the would-be game-winning shot, to close out the 76ers.
Ben Simmons had choice words for his team following the loss to Atlanta.
“I think we were just too soft. I just don’t think we are physical enough. I think defensively, we are not taking it personal enough when guys score on us. It should be a pride thing.”
Jimmy Butler, to put it simply, disagreed with Simmons.
A frustrated Jimmy Butler responds to Ben Simmons calling the team “soft”. He says he doesn’t like that word. FYI: volume up. #Sixers pic.twitter.com/KqUHlaWXp6
— Ky Carlin (@Ky_Carlin) January 12, 2019
There is still a lot to work out in Philadelphia.
Something that is hard to miss, is how much this team struggles without Joel Embiid.
Against the Atlanta Hawks, the 76ers sans Embiid were unable to close out a team that is currently in the basement of the Eastern Conference.
To make things worse, their schedule is about to get tougher.
The team would bounce back and narrowly win against the New York Knicks on Sunday by a score of 108-105. It was an ugly week for the 76ers.
Landry Shamet is the 76ers most promising bench player. The late first round pick is outplaying his draft stock as a rookie and has been a lone bright spot when it comes to secondary scoring for the 76ers.
Shamet began the week with his best performance as a pro, posting a career-high 29 points in a home win over the Washington Wizards.
He also made a career-high eight threes
Landry Shamet knocks down 4 treys in Q3 for the @sixers!
The rookie has a career-high 8 3PM, 29 PTS in the game. #HereTheyCome #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/s5kmLZdEol
— NBA (@NBA) January 9, 2019
As Shamet continues to develop other aspects of his game, he has found a way to contribute in the present as a scary catch-and-shoot threat.
72% of Shamet’s attempts come from beyond the arc, and 97% of those makes are assisted.
With JJ Redick being 34-years-old, it is not too soon to start looking for a replacement. Redick provides a catch-and-shoot prowess, but at a higher price than Shamet.
In the meantime, Shamet could not have a better mentor on his team than Redick.
The 76ers have a lot to figure out when it comes to bench personnel, but Shamet has given Philadelphia one less choice to make.
A Look Ahead:
The 76ers will play three games next week, including a road contest against the Indiana Pacers, who are ahead of Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference standings by just one game.
Here is the slate of this week’s games.
Tuesday, Jan. 15: vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Thursday, Jan. 17: @ Indiana Pacers
Saturday, Jan. 19: vs Oklahoma City Thunder
76ers fans will get to see Dario Saric and Robert Covington return to Philadelphia when Butler plays his former team, the Timberwolves.
The lone road game against the Pacers will Philadelphia a good chance to pass them in the standings.
Game of The Week: vs Oklahoma City Thunder (Jan. 19)
It will be the first of two meetings with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the 76ers will host them this Saturday afternoon. Philadelphia will travel to OKC in late February to finish the two-game series.
The Thunder started the season off hot, but have lost three of their last four. They are 5-5 in their last ten games.
Despite a tough stretch, OKC sits atop the Western Conference, currently in third place.
They are only two and a half games behind the Denver Nuggets, who are leading the race in the West.
Oklahoma City is led by the potent duo of Paul George and the 2016 NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook
George leads the Thunder in scoring, averaging 26 points per contest. Westbrook is averaging a mind-boggling 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Will all the problems that Philadelphia has had of late with containing scorers on the perimeter, it looks like the 76ers will have their hands full when OKC comes to visit.
You can tune in to watch the game at 3:30 pm EST. Saturday, on ABC.
For all things 76ers, make sure to keep up with Basketball Society on social media. Talk to me personally on Twitter @PhillySportsMax, and I will see y’all next week.