The 76ers began the week at 20-11 and played three games. After dropping a road game in San Antonio, the 76ers won back to back games at home to improve to 22-12. They currently sit at third in the eastern conference, let’s run through some quick hits:
Landry Shamet’s Unexpected Success
The 76ers are VERY fortunate that Landry Shamet is a Sixer, and even more fortunate that he has flourished in his expanded role.
Shamet was selected by Philadelphia in the 2018 NBA Draft, with the 26th overall pick, and Shamet is already outperforming his draft stock. While I do not want to short-change the rook, his success early in his rookie year, was not the expectation.
The 76ers bench is a serious concern, but with Landry Shamet proving his worth so early in his career, Philadelphia can take solace in the fact that Shamet could be a great depth player for years to come.
Shamet had the best game of his short NBA career thus far, against the New York Knicks. The rookie from Wichita State finished with 17 points, with four threes, and shot 60 percent from the floor.
Revenge Against Toronto
The 76ers finally bounced back against the Toronto Raptors, in a 126-101 rout.
Philadelphia defeated the team with the best record in the eastern conference, behind strong games from their young stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Simmons, who had struggled greatly against Toronto this year prior to this matchup, finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. Embiid finished the win with 27 points and 11 boards but was not satisfied after the win.
Raptors star, Kawhi Leonard, did not play. Embiid following the game mentioned that he was disappointed the 76ers did not get a shot at a full strength Raptors squad.
Ben Simmons, however, was clearly enjoying the matchup sans Leonard. In two games against the Raptors with Leonard, Simmons totaled a whopping 18 turnovers. In the lone contest without Leonard, Simmons only turned the ball over once.
The 76ers handed the Raptors their tenth loss of the season and moved within two and a half games with the Raptors.
A Look Ahead:
The 76ers play three games next week, all on the road. Here is the slate of games:
Tuesday, Dec. 25: @ Boston Celtics
Thursday, Dec. 27: @ Utah Jazz
Sunday, Dec. 30: @ Portland Trail Blazers
After a huge road game on Christmas day, the 76ers will head west and face a reeling Jazz team.
Philadelphia will finish the week Sunday night in Portland, against a Trail Blazers team who is 12-5 at home, and only one game behind the Lakers for fifth in the western conference.
Game of The Week: @ Boston Celtics (Dec. 25)
It will be only the second meeting between the two teams this year. The first game was the season opener for both teams, and Philadelphia lost 105-87, in a bad showing from the 76ers.
It was a disappointing start to the season, and I know Ben Simmons and the 76ers have had Christmas Day circled on their calendars since October.
Following a rough playoff beating from the Celtics in last year’s postseason, the 76ers have a chance to change the narrative. With a Christmas day game, between two rivals with a rich history, reputations and bragging rights will be on the line.
Despite a rocky start of the season for the Celtics, they are getting back on track, and are looking to reclaim their spot at the top of the east. Boston is 7-3 in their last 10 games, and are only two games back of the 76ers.
Philadelphia will need to lean on their stars to beat the Celtics, who have one of deepest rosters in basketball right now. Depth was a major factor in last year’s playoff series and Christmas day will be no different.
Brett Brown will have his hands full game planning against Brad Stevens, one of the premier coaches in the NBA. The TD Garden will be jumping.
You can catch the game, Christmas Day, at 5:30pm EST. on ABC.