The 76ers returned to meaningful basketball on Saturday night. In the first of eight seeding games, the Sixers would lose to the Indiana Pacers by a score of 127-121. The game featured a dazzling performance from Pacers forward, T.J. Warren who lit the Sixers up and seemingly had his way with whatever Sixer he was matched up on, primarily Ben Simmons. Indiana used mostly screens to get Warren open and no adjustments in the defensive alignment were made (as usual) by Sixers head coach Brett Brown. The team mainly threw Ben Simmons and rookie Matisse Thybulle at Warren in an effort to slow him down. it didn’t work. Warren finished with a career high 53 points.
Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 41 points and 21 rebounds and 3 blocks. Tobias Harris added 30 points and 8 rebounds as well. In his new role as power forward, Ben Simmons pitched in 19 points, 13 rebounds along with 4 assists. The real story (or lack thereof) of this game with the Sixers players was the absolute lack of production they received from both guard positions, no matter who was on the court, outside of one player.
- Josh Richardson: 30 Minutes, 2-4 shooting, 4 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist
- Shake Milton: 19 minutes, 0-1 shooting, 0 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists
- Raul Neto: 21 minutes, 1-3 shooting, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
- Alec Burks: 12 minutes, 3-4 shooting (3-3 from 3), 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
One of these things is not like the others
As stated above, the guards for the Sixers all struggled with the exception of Alec Burks, who came in off the bench and knocked down some shots. Burks, who is capable of playing point guard, wasn’t given the opportunity to contribute even though he was the only Sixer guard who appeared capable of doing so. Shake Milton struggled mightily, Raul Neto came in for Milton and gave the team next to nothing, and Josh Richardson was barely heard from all game.
There was optimism from the 3 scrimmage games played before last nights game, however, almost nothing from those games translated. Even after a five month layoff, this game featured the usual from a Brett Brown coached team: un-disciplined basketball, no adjusting, bad rotations, miscommunications, and at times a flat out lack of effort from the team. Wings and guards have torched the Sixers for years but the same thing happens every time. There are no adjustments made to throw different looks at the player, such trapping the player and forcing the ball out of his hands. As usual, Brown just stood idly by and watched his team get torched by Warren.
While, it was just one game, it was one of eight seeding games. These eight games matter because they will ultimately determine who Philadelphia will play in the first round of the playoffs. With this loss, the Sixers have now lost the season series against the Pacers which furthers the magnitude of this loss due to the playoff seeding implications that may ultimately have. The 76ers return to action on Monday night against the Spurs.