The Philadelphia 76ers began the week at 3-3, and played five games over the last seven days to improve to 6-5. Philadelphia will get some much needed rest next week, as they only play three games. Let’s run through this week’s quick hits:
It does not take a brilliant basketball mind to observe that the Sixers have really struggled taking care of the basketball, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid specifically. Simmons had 11 turnovers against the Toronto Raptors, ELEVEN. However, it isn’t all on Simmons.
The Sixers turned the ball over 23 times against the Raptors. Toronto is a great team, and with such a young roster, mistakes are bound to occur. However, the Sixers turned the ball over 10 times against the lowly Brooklyn Nets in the first quarter alone.
Through the first three weeks, turnovers have been plentiful, and there isn’t any sign of the issue being fixed.
Joel Embiid’s Ceiling is Limitless:
Another week, another group of monster games for Joel Embiid. Embiid has been the team’s most valuable player so far in 2018, and has also been the most improved. Embiid is averaging just under 30 points and over 12 rebounds per game. Joel had a monster night against the Los Angeles Clippers, posting 41 points, 13 boards and four blocks. He had his way with anyone who decided to step in his way.
Two days later, Embiid dropped 39 points and 17 boards against the Detroit Pistons. JoJo has been invaluable to the 76ers’ attack, and has been frustrating defenses night in and night out. Andre Drummond, who has been openly trash talking Embiid, was simply unable to contain him.
If the Sixers want to build momentum on the offensive side of the ball, it should go through Embiid and his ability to get to the free throw line often. Embiid went to the line a career-high 23 times against the Pistons on Saturday, and I would love to see Embiid continue to seek contact and earn it at the line.
The Sixers’ are clearly behind both the Raptors and Celtics:
The 76ers’ two worst games of the season have come at the mercy of the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. What’s really troubling, is that these two teams stand directly in the way of the team’s path to a championship. As of now, there is a clear separation between the caliber of Boston and Toronto, versus Philadelphia. Philly’s young pieces need to do a better job of taking care of the basketball against good teams. More importantly, however, is finding a way to win away from Philadelphia. The 76ers are 6-0 at home, and a pitiful 0-5 on the road. If Philly cannot beat the Brooklyn Nets on the road, you can forget about beating either Boston or Toronto.
Markelle Fultz’s Best Game as a Pro
While it may not have looked like a great game on the stat sheet, Fultz had his best game in the NBA this week against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Sixers were rolling early against the Clippers, leading by over 20 points. The Clippers came roaring back and suddenly, the Philadelphia 76ers were down four, in the second half. During the team’s collapse, Fultz was on the bench. But, then once he came in, he changed the entire energy in the Wells Fargo Center. Fultz pushed the pace, attacked the rim, and resurrected a Philadelphia crowd. The Sixers would go on to win yet another home contest, compliments of Fultz.
Fultz finished with 12 points, nine boards, and five assists. Most notably however, Fultz finished with a team best +16 in plus/minus, while Simmons was -2.
Next Week’s Preview:
Next week’s slate of games features three contests, against the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, and Memphis Grizzlies. The Sixers will travel to both Indiana and Memphis, and will host the Hornets. With the Sixers overwhelming struggles on the road, it will be a good opportunity for the Sixers to get some wins away from the Wells Fargo Center.
Game of the Week: vs Charlotte Hornets (Nov. 9)
My game of the week is Philadelphia’s second matchup this season against the Charlotte Hornets. Kemba Walker is off to a sizzling start in 2018, and the Sixers saw it first hand already in October. They were able to narrowly escape with a win the last time these two teams faced off, by a score of 105-103. The 76ers will have their hands full once again with Walker, who we know, is one of the biggest threats in the East.
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.