It was another bipolar week for the Philadelphia 76ers. They got their week started with a 113-92 win over the Atlanta Hawks. It was an ugly first half, but the Sixers did what good teams do and pulled away in third quarter thanks in large part to Ben Simmons. The Aussie scored 15 of his 21 points while shooting 5/6 from the field and making all five of his free throw attempts in the quarter.
I say it was a bipolar week because just 24 hours later, Ben Simmons went up to Toronto and turned the ball over 11 times against the Raptors. Eleven. Sure, it was the second night of a back to back and he was being guarded by one of the league’s best in Kawhi Leonard, but turning the ball over that many times is unacceptable. The Sixers actually cut Toronto’s 26 point lead down to six with 3:29 remaining, but in the end lost 129-112. The Sixers have not won in Toronto since November of 2012.
Two days later the Sixers would be back at Wells Fargo Center to take on the Los Angeles Clippers. The up and down theme continued. The Sixers led by as many as 22 in the first half, but found themselves trailing by four in the third thanks to a 41-15 outburst from the Clippers. That all changed when Markelle Fultz came off the bench and put a jolt back into them. He fueled the Sixers to a 19-4 run and that was all she wrote. The Sixers never looked back and went on to win 122-113. Oh, and Joel Embiid dropping 41 points didn’t hurt either.
Sequence of the night for Fultz for me. Got rewarded for fighting hard on D to contain Lou Will pic.twitter.com/gWVSZDbFcg
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) November 2, 2018
Next up for the Sixers was a Saturday matinee against the Detroit Pistons. Another showdown between Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond. Embiid got Drummond in foul trouble early en route to 32 first half points. This guy has just been on another level this season.
It was another inconsistent showing on the rest of the team’s part, however. A 24 point first half lead was dwindled down to just five in the fourth quarter. Luckily, the Sixers prevailed and hung on to win 109-99.
Markelle Fultz continuing with some more good defense. Engaged on the ball here before coming up with a great block and recovery/pass to lead to a Covington 3 pic.twitter.com/nhBd51saeD
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) November 3, 2018
This play really stood out to me. Fultz has been doing many good things on the defensive side of the ball the last few games. He really seems to turning a corner on that end of the floor. His jump shot and ability to score probably won’t ever be consistent this season, but one thing that can be is his defense and this ball club desperately need it.
The Sixers ended the week on a low point. It’s probably the lowest point of the young season. An embarrassing 122-97 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. A game in which the Sixers turned the ball over a season-high 27 times. They are averaging 18.6 turnovers per game on the road in comparison to just 14 a game at home. Something has to change.
The Sixers are 6-0 at home, but 0-5 on the road. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not like they were allergic to traveling last season. Albeit just a game, this team was still above .500 on the road at 21-20 last year including a huge early season win down in Houston against the Rockets.
A lot of this may have to do with the way the roster has been constructed. They just simply don’t have enough shooters. The turnover issues weren’t as apparent after the Sixers acquired Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova last season. Maybe the Sixers just need to make a move for another shooter and things will look smoother offensively. Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed in order to get over these road woes. Things don’t get any easier when the Sixers travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers.