Posts for Sixers Category

Joel Embiid Suggests that Markelle Fultz’s People Have Not “Had His Back”

Kevin Kinkead - February 13, 2018

Lost in the dazzling glow of a T.J. McConnell TRIPLE-DOUBLE was a post-game Joel Embiid interview featuring an interesting tidbit about Markelle Fultz.

Embiid went on NBA TV after Monday’s night’s win and was asked about the situation surrounding the injured rookie guard. The relevant passage begins around the 5:01 mark:

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Not Your Grandmother’s 76ers – Observations from Sixers 108, Knicks 92

Kevin Kinkead - February 13, 2018

When T.J. McConnell bags a triple-double to seal a 10th-straight win at the Wells Fargo Center, you know this ain’t the same old Sixers.

I suppose it’s validation for those who supported the Process, the apex performance (for now) of a guy who a lot of people didn’t think was NBA quality. One of them writes for Crossing Broad, but we’ll allow him to remain anonymous. McConnell isn’t just a feel good story in 2018, but a legitimate rotation player, a guy who seems to have hustle though, ambition, flow, inside his DNA, just like Kendrick Lamar.

And those were the elements that allowed the Sixers to overcome a relatively slow start last night, at least by their standards. They didn’t build up a big lead and hang on to win. They didn’t slap around an inferior Knicks team. They had to pull away in the third quarter on the strength of defensive stops, steals, and transition offense, and it just felt like the effort and enthusiasm was a bit different in the second half.

Ironically enough, and I’ve mentioned this before, but Dario Saric brought up the Eagles’ Super Bowl win post-game, unprompted, explaining that he feels like the energy levels inside of the Wells Fargo Center have been different lately, which is rubbing off on the team. I asked Brett Brown about that last week, and he felt like there was something to it, invoking the “Pygmalion Effect” in explaining the palpable rubbing off of Super Bowl success on his neighboring basketball team.

So whatever’s in the Philly air, it must be some shit, because last night it transformed T.J. McConnell into John Stockton.

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Marco Belinelli Passed on Four Playoff Teams to Come to Philadelphia

Kevin Kinkead - February 12, 2018

After agreeing to a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks, Marco Belinelli had interest from Oklahoma City, Toronto, and Milwaukee, and Portland, four teams with a better record than the Sixers.

But the veteran shooter decided to come to Philly instead, speaking pregame Monday evening about the choice to link up with a burgeoning young roster.

“I was lucky to watch a couple of games of other teams, Philly too,” the 31-year old Italian international said. “I think you guys are playing really well, playing together on offense and defense, and I really trust this kind of thing. Just an opportunity to help this team and make a run at the playoffs and I think it’s going to be good for me. I’m really happy and ready to play.”

 

Belinelli won a title with San Antonio in 2014, but the best path back to the finals might be with Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook, at least in 2018.

“I mean, that’s a good team,” Belinelli said of the Thunder. “A great team. And Philly’s a great team with great fans. I really trust (that). I think I made the right choice.”

The Sixers’ talent might be a little raw, compared to more established rosters around the NBA, but Belinelli perked up when asked about his new teammates.

“I mean, you’re talking about two of the best players in the league, you know? Ben, I like him. He loves to pass the ball. Joel is great, can do everything offensively and I’ve never seen something like that in my life. I think it will be really nice to play with these kinds of guys. And JJ, for sure, is a really good shooting guard. We’ve played against each other a lot of times and finally we won’t have to guard each other but can play on the same team. That’s a good thing.”

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Taking a Moment to Appreciate Dario Saric

Kevin Kinkead - February 12, 2018

It’s easy to be distracted by the talent and charisma of Joel Embiid, the athletic dominance of Ben Simmons, and the head-scratching nonsense of the Markelle Fultz situation.

At the end of every recap I write, I usually think to myself, “shit.. did I even mention Saric in there?

The answer is usually no and sometimes yes, but never with the appropriate amount of words or praise, because Dario Saric has been excellent in 2018, just a rock solid player with consistent contributions across the board.

For starters, he’s shooting above 50% in February and 44.4% from three. That continues the mostly upward trend that began in late October and early November when he was re-inserted into the starting lineup following a brief bench stint:

The trend continues when you go back through the last 10 games. It’s not just a five-game blip. Dario has been hitting above 46% on field goals and 40% on three-pointers dating back to the January 11th loss in Boston:

Steady improvement since we flipped the calendar to 2018.

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Two Wins, an Injury Scare, and a Veteran Signing: A Sixers Weekend Recap

Kevin Kinkead - February 12, 2018

If you’re like me, you probably hit a wall sometime Friday afternoon after the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade and Bryan Colangelo’s media availability regarding Markelle Fultz.

In the 50 hours since, the Sixers ripped off a pair of home wins, survived a Joel Embiid injury scare, and added a veteran shooter via free agency. I figured it would make the most sense to wrap all of this into one post for a Monday morning story, as we all wake up from our Eagle hangover to return to the real world of commutes, cubicles, and trying to repair the damn leak in my roof.

So that part sucks, but the sports is good. The Birds, Flyers, and Sixers are a combined 8-0 since February 4th. How bout that?

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Transcript: Bryan Colangelo (and JJ Redick) on Markelle Fultz

Kevin Kinkead - February 9, 2018

With respect to the Sixers organization, Bryan Colangelo’s Friday availability was 75% non-answer, 15% useful information, and 10% off-topic questions from media members who missed the point.

Because the only topic of the day should have been Markelle Fultz, and what exactly is going on with the rookie’s bum shoulder.

In the interest of context, I’ll post the full transcript here, but first some bullet points:

  • Colangelo says they still don’t know how the shoulder injury happened.
  • There’s no timeline for a return. Colangelo would not rule Fultz out for the season, but said he may or may not play, which answers nothing.
  • He reiterated that Fultz has to relearn his mechanics as a result of the shoulder injury.
  • It seems to me like Fultz’s agent and his people are still at odds with the team, especially based on the TNT interview Fultz did the other night that apparently was organized without the Sixers’ public relations staff.

Anyway, here’s the transcript. I took out the bullshit questions about the trade deadline and anything not concerning Markelle’s injury:

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The Pygmalion Effect? – Observations from Sixers 115, Wizards 102 (and a Fultz Update)

Kevin Kinkead - February 7, 2018

Before Tuesday night’s 13-point win, I asked Brett Brown about the Eagles questions he was receiving during the Super Bowl run.

Sure, he could always answer generically with a “rah rah, go Birds, we’re really excited” type of response. But I was interested in whether or not Brown saw any kind of tangible effect from the Eagles’ playoff run on his team – maybe a higher energy level or boost in motivation or something along those lines:

“Yes I do (see it). I think that we all.. you ‘feel’ the city. We want that. We want to have a playoff game here. I’ve said to the team, both my parents are school teachers, my mom was a third grade teacher for 27 years and my dad was a high school teacher for 18 or 19. When they would always talk about the students and how the kids were raised, they’d talk about this thing that was actually called the ‘Pygmalion Effect,’ that people who knew what they wanted and were raised in a high level of expectation and accountability often times received it more than other kids. We wanna play in the playoffs, and here we are with five games at home. To be able to look across the street and see what the Eagles did and the way they did it, it’s an amazing story. They lost Carson and they found a way as a staff, organization, and team, to move on and get it done. So when you feel the city and watch that team and live here, you recognize the stories of perseverance, and you recognize that here we are, too, right across the street. We want to share that.”

It’s a cool concept, the idea that the Eagles’ success provides an influence or benchmark of sorts by which to judge our other local teams.

And if that’s the case, then the Pygmalion Effect certainly manifested itself last night at the Wells Fargo Center, with the Sixers shooting 55.6% in a 115 point effort against a team that had won five straight games, four without all-star point guard John Wall.

Philly was 14-28 from three point range for a smooth 50% downtown clip. Joel Embiid led the team with 27 and 12 while Ben Simmons added 15, 6, 8, and 3 steals. Dario Saric was his steady self on a 20-point night, JJ Redick was 4-5 from distance and Robert Covington looked a little bit better on the offensive end.

They didn’t rebound the ball particularly well, nor did they protect it. The Sixers committed 17 turnovers, 10 of which were split between Simmons and Covington, who were sloppy with their passing. Washington grabbed 16 offensive rebounds.

But as is the case on most nights, the Sixers were good enough in other areas to plaster over their deficiency of the evening, and hot shooting led to a double digit win over a really good team.

When Amir Johnson drains a three pointer and Jerryd Bayless finishes an alley oop dunk in the first quarter, you just have a feeling it’s going to be your night.

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Had ’em All the Way! – Observations from Sixers 103, Heat 97

Kevin Kinkead - February 3, 2018

When you’ve got a 28 point lead with 11 minutes remaining in a home game, your second unit should be able to close out a win.

But the Sixers don’t have a second unit capable of doing that, so Brett Brown has to come up with something else.

He probably can’t be rolling out T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Amir Johnson, and Trevor Booker at any point, no matter what the lead. So the late-game rotation needs to include one or more of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, or JJ Redick.

Easy enough, right?

Well, not entirely, because this was the first night of a back-to-back, a situation where Embiid was scheduled to play his first B2B ever, so ideally you’d like to pull him in the fourth and let the other nine guys in the rotation do the job. You’re also trying to keep the other four starters fresh for tonight’s game in Indiana.

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