At the end of last week’s article I talked about the three point trend and how the Sixers did a much better job of hitting their shots against Chicago. That trend continued in the 116-115 victory over the Orland Magic. The Sixers shot a whopping 17/34 (50%) against the Magic and they needed every last one of them.
JJ Redick hit his eighth three of the night with 17 seconds to go in the ball game, which turned out to be the game winner. After the game, Joel Embiid said “I wish he was 24 years old so that we could be here for the next 10-15 years, but he’s old as shit.”
— NBA (@NBA) October 21, 2018
Redick finished with 31 points on 10/20 from the field including 8/13 from deep. Embiid dropped 32 of his own on 13/26 shooting. It was the big man’s second consecutive 30 point performance. The two really played well through each other and they needed to with Ben Simmons leaving the game early with back tightness. That allowed Markelle Fultz to run the offense. He looked a bit erratic at times, but ultimately finished with eight points on 4/11 shooting to go along with seven assists to just one turnover.
Three days later the Sixers headed to Detroit to take on the Pistons. Ben Simmons was listed as questionable, but ultimately was ruled out. This was Fultz’s first big opportunity to show what he can do as the primary ball handler.
He was aggressive and was moving confidently. He scored 13 points on 6/9 shooting. It was probably the most efficient game of his young career. Brett Brown went with the veteran TJ McConnell in the late stages of the game, however. I disagreed with the move, but I understood his thought process.
The big story again was the two man game between Redick and Embiid, though. Embiid owned Andre Drummond all night before Drummond was ejected. Then, Redick hit a potential game winning four-point play in overtime, but Blake Griffin answered with a three-point play of his own at the other end. Griffin set a new career high with 50 points as the Pistons improved to 3-0. That doesn’t happen if Simmons plays.
Wait I forget is an “And 1” when u score the call and also shove the defenders arm away? What’s that rule again? pic.twitter.com/z5o8lRrlsn
— BehindCurve (@BehindCurve) October 24, 2018
Not only should Griffin have been called for a travel, he also should have been whistled for clearing out Robert Covington according to the NBA’s Last 2 Minute report. Tough scene.
On the second night of a back to back, the Sixers headed to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks. The Sixers got out to a fast start and led 34-22 after one quarter. That lead quickly began to fade as Milwaukee got red hot and scored 49 points in the second quarter alone. The Bucks like to play fast and the Sixers defense was nowhere to be found. That tends to happen to teams playing on a back to back.
Philadelphia pulled to within eight in the fourth quarter, but Milwaukee responded and won the game 123-108 dropping the Sixers to 2-3. It’s tough to judge the Sixers on this game. Back to backs are tough and Simmons really didn’t look 100%.
Embiid struggled in the game. He shot just 9/24, but he was still good enough to become the first Sixer since Allen Iverson in 2006 to have four straight 30 point outings. The guy has been on another level so far this season.
On Saturday night, the Sixers welcomed Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets to town.
It was ugly. The Sixers shot just 39% from the field. But thanks to a huge two-way game from Robert Covington and another solid performance from Joel Embiid, the Sixers were able to escape with a 105-103 victory.
Markelle Fultz looked pretty good running the offense when Ben Simmons was resting. Especially in transition. He put rookie Miles Bridges in a spin cycle in the first half and threw down a vicious dunk early in the fourth quarter. The lack of spacing he and Simmons provide is still hurtling the offense, however.
Circling back to Covington, when he guarded Walker, he held him to just 14 points on 6/15 shooting and 2/9 from three. He seems to have Kemba’s number because he defended him very well last season, too.
Overall, it wasn’t a week to write home about. The Sixers find themselves at .500 through six games. They’re showing flashes of the team they can be, but it’s not all the way there yet. The team will get set for another back to back starting with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.