When I say the Joel Embiid-less Sixers, I mean JJ Redick. I’m not one to blame a loss solely on one player. That’s just unfair. But man, this guy cannot get it going without the 2x All-Star center in the lineup. We knew going into this that he would get less open looks without Embiid on the floor, but even when he is open, nothing is falling. For his sake alone, Joel Embiid has to return.
Embiid “I expect to be back by next week.”
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) March 2, 2019
As for the rest of the team, there’s really not much to be displeased about when you lose to the Golden State Warriors. I mean, with Redick nowhere to be found, Mike Scott stepped up in a large way. The forward tallied 22 points and shot 6/9 from three. He’s 16/25 from deep in the last four games. He won’t remain this hot, but it’s encouraging to see him coming around after struggling from beyond at the start of his Sixers tenure.
Ben Simmons, although he committed nine turnovers, still had an absolute monster game. He seems to enjoy playing against the Warriors. He took advantage of the mismatches and played stellar defense in both meetings this season. He finished with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his 10th triple double of the season. It’s an encouraging sign to see Simmons have double digit assists for the third time in four games. Prior to that, he hadn’t had double digit assists since January 23rd against San Antonio.
Really, the biggest take away from last night’s game was the second half execution. The Sixers need to do a better job of readjusting to their opponent.
Also, I’m assuming it was Brett Brown’s decision to intentionally miss the second free throw after Ben Simmons had made the first. To me, that didn’t make any sense at all. He makes it, you’re down one with plenty of time to try to force a turnover or foul. At worst, you get the ball back trailing by three. I would rather have just taken my chances with Simmons at the line (who was 5/5 on the night) instead of just intentionally missing.
Give Golden State credit, though. They came in sputtering, losers in three of their last four games. It was kind of hard imagining them leaving Wells Fargo Center with their third consecutive loss and four of five overall. Kevin Durant made sure they wouldn’t. He finished with a game-high 34 points.