*This post is brought to you by Cynch, the new propane home delivery service. They deliver your grill tank right to your doorstep and take away your old tank for just $10 with the Crossing Broad promo code “ItsLit5”. Just enter your address, leave the tank on your porch/driveway, and Cynch will do the rest.*
If we’ve learned anything, you never bet against the Sixers at home. Not even when they’re playing without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Thursday night’s win saw Brett Brown’s team improve to a league-best 28-2 at the Wells Fargo Center. They’re 9-21 on the road, which is an incredibly baffling disparity.
And if we’ve learned another thing, it’s that the New York Knicks absolutely stink. Playing that team is like a panacea for all of your illnesses, a miracle elixir that can cure short term fan base grumpiness.
It was a sleepy crowd last night, sort of “grumbly,” which I know isn’t a word, but it fits. There were grumbles during introductions and at certain portions of the game, which was played in an arena that was maybe 80% full, if I had to guess. No Embiid, no Simmons, crappy opponent, crappy weather, school night, etc – those were the mitigating factors.
But they got a big performance out of one of their healthy big money guys, so let’s start with him.
Sports Betting Updates
Good find here from Kyle Neubeck at Philly Voice, who was reading actual basketball stories while I was sifting through FCC Super Bowl complaints.
It’s an article at Basketball Insiders, written by Spencer Davies, who spoke to recent Sixers acquisition Glenn Robinson III. The 26-year-old wing talks about his trade from Golden State to Philadelphia and touches on the difficulty of picking up and moving across the country at a moment’s notice.
Interestingly enough, he also admitted straight-up that he doesn’t know what his role is on this Sixers team:
Joel Embiid is out tonight vs. Knicks. More evaluation on left shoulder sprain ongoing, per source.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 27, 2020
No Ben Simmons. No Joel Embiid. No juice for the Sixers at all right now. Thankfully they’re playing the super-stinky Knicks, who have lost five-straight games and are on the second night of a road back-to-back. Keep Julius Randle in check and they should be fine.
Josh Richardson, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris have a lot to prove tonight. God help us all if the Knicks take a lead into halftime.
Josh Richardson got a lot of praise a few months back when calling for “accountability” from his Philadelphia 76ers teammates. That message was received well from fans and media who felt like he was standing up and trying to show leadership on a team that featured a couple of young superstars and some veteran newcomers to the squad.
Last night he dropped something similar, something that we’d also lump into the “maturity and responsibility” category. He came out after the pitiful Cleveland loss and said that the Sixers need to show some heart tonight at home against New York.
Here’s the locker room clip, which comes via NBC Sports Philadelphia:
No recap this morning.
Nobody wants to read a detailed breakdown of a hideous Sixers loss in Cleveland, a game where Ben Simmons was already not available and then Joel Embiid went out and hurt himself in the first quarter. The Sixers proceeded to pitifully slump their way to 14-point defeat to one of the league’s worst teams.
They should have enough firepower to beat an Andre Drummond-less, 16-win Cavs team on the road. Tobias Harris is making $180 million over five years. Al Horford was given a four year, $109 million deal. Put those guys next to Josh Richardson, Shake Milton, Alec Burks, and Furkan Korkmaz, and that game last night should have been more competitive than it was.
It just felt like Harris and Horford were passive, which should not have been the case sans Simmons and Embiid. Combined, they shot 8-23 (34.7%), went to the foul line only twice, and finished with 21 points.
The thing that really left me scratching my head was the second half output. The Sixers actually out-shot Cleveland 89 to 78 on the evening and still lost by double-digits, which is unfathomable, but Harris and Horford only took seven of their 23 shots in third and fourth quarters:
Joel Embiid dropped a career-high 49 points the other night and said “fuck it” on live television after flipping the bird to Kevin Huerter.
That earned him a $25,000 fine from the NBA:
The “obscene gesture” in question took place at the very end of the game, when Embiid dribbled the ball into the Hawks’ half of the floor and was then pickpocketed by Huerter.
Here’s the video of that, for your viewing pleasure:
Simmons sustained the injury on the play prior to exiting Saturday night in Milwaukee. He will undergo daily treatment and rehab after he consulted with several specialists internally and externally. https://t.co/tuuTVqVd9s
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 25, 2020
Two weeks would take us to March 10th, right before the Pistons home game, so Simmons won’t be involved in the four-game road swing. Sixers should be okay this week against Cleveland and New York, if Joel Embiid plays the way he did last night. They can beat the Cavs and Knicks without Simmons, then it gets tricky playing the Lakers and Clippers on the road before heading up to Sacramento and Golden State.