Posts for nba

Extra Sloppy – Observations from Sixers 106, Cavs 99

Kevin Kinkead - March 13, 2019

There it is.

The worst win of the year.

The Sixers improved to 43-25 and remain in third place in the Eastern Conference.

I’m normally a “win is a win” type of guy, but when you’re 15 or whatever games away from the playoffs and you’re not putting away the Cleveland Cavaliers at home until the final minute of the fourth quarter, then you should probably be at least a bit concerned, considering the expectations justifiably placed on this team before the season, after the Jimmy Butler trade, and now following the Tobias Harris move.

They just didn’t look focused last night, didn’t look dialed in. They looked the same way they did when they played the Cavs at home on Black Friday, stuffed on Tryptophan and sleepwalking through too many lethargic sequences, resulting in the worst loss of the season.

Credit is due to Joel Embiid for showing up late, with a clutch putback dunk and game-sealing block on the defensive end. He described himself as “trash” in his postgame press conference but made enough plays when it really mattered to cement victory, hitting four straight free throws to ice this one after stuffing Ante Zizic on a critical ATO play with 33 seconds on the clock.

That’s the glass-half-full approach, the idea that they “found a way to win,” but this game deserves the ole’ Negadelphia spin.

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Zhaire Smith is Available to Play Tonight

Kevin Kinkead - March 12, 2019

From the Sixers:

Brett Brown said he’s not sure if Smith will get in the game. I’d think he’ll likely get a run if the Sixers put this one away early, which they should.

Smith has played four games for the Blue Coats this season at 19.8 minutes per. He’s averaging 5 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while shooting 37.5% from the floor, which is probably what you’d expect from a guy who has gone through a combination Jones fracture and allergy complication. The Sixers saw him as a two-way wing with a lot of upside when they traded for him back in June, and just seeing Zhaire back on the court will be a nice moment in general considering that he got hit with the same rookie curse that sidelined Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Markelle Fultz.

James Ennis will start for Jimmy Butler tonight, who is getting a rest. Boban Marjanovic is available after missing the last six games.

Sixers Break from the Grind to Attend Annual Youth Foundation Gala

Kevin Kinkead - March 12, 2019

The 3rd place Sixers are back at it tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they took a break last night, a brief respite from the regular season grind to hit up The Fillmore for the 4th Annual Sixers Youth Foundation Gala.

It’s the organization’s biggest fundraising event of the year, a ‘who’s who’ of Philly basketball and week-long silent auction wrapped into one big party.

Brett Brown stopped by the event after Tuesday’s practice session in Camden.

“Something like this has grown since I have been with the organization,” the head coach said. “People like Amy Hever (Executive Director, Community Relations) and the people behind the scenes deserve a lot of credit. I believe if you could find a handful of these types of events that you do annually, then you have a culture, a consistent sort of caliber to be a part of this, have the club really dig in and make it a big part of what they do. It’s a fantastic night.”

It’s one night only, but an opportunity for the team to get away from basketball and shift gears for an evening.

“This is very busy this time of year as we all know,” Brown continued. “I think to come down here, to have the players come down and support it and be a part of it, it’s stuff you know you have to do and want to do. It’s for a great cause and we always look forward to coming down and meeting people, representing the club. Tuesday we’ll get ready to play Cleveland.”

Some photos from the event, after the jump:

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Kendall Jenner’s Personalized Sixers Jersey Says “Kenny”

Kevin Kinkead - March 11, 2019

By now you know that Kendall Jenner is one of us – a blue collar, hard-working, self made Philly type of woman.

The Sixers won another game with Kendall in attendance on Sunday afternoon, and she was rocking a personalized jersey with a patch on the front:

Pretty cool. Maybe I can get one that says “Kinker” on it.

The pair was also spotted at the CHERRY HILL MALL recently, which is crazy to me. My sources tell me they had to turn right in order to turn left, which only happens in New Jersey. I guarantee Bendall had to make that dumbass right turn near the Kohl’s and Target shopping center, just so they could then steer their way to Mall Drive and pull in near the California Pizza Kitchen.

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Tobias Harris Identified Sixers as Possible Free Agent Destination Before Trade

Kevin Kinkead - March 11, 2019

There’s an interview with Tobias Harris that went up on The Athletic this morning, a discussion with Shams Charania.

It’s worth a read if you have a subscription, but I thought this passage was worth sharing on here:

Harris’ numbers since joining the 76ers on Feb. 8 — 20.9 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists per game — are nearly identical to his statistics with the Los Angeles Clippers. Harris told The Athletic he had identified the 76ers as a potential free-agent destination this July, even prior to the trade. He and (Jimmy) Butler are scheduled to be free agents, and the 76ers have said they want to re-sign both players. Their decisions, like the franchise’s, will likely come after the 76ers postseason push.

No matter what Butler does in free agency, the 76ers would have the ultimate complementary player in Harris, who’s willing to lead, unite his teammates and play a significant role alongside Embiid and Simmons as a scoring and shooting power forward.

Yep, he would have made a ton of sense this offseason had the Sixers not done the trade to bring him in last month. If you’re asking me who makes more sense to max out, I think Harris is the guy right now, and not Butler, who is three years older and doesn’t seem to fit as well into the system. I’d ask Jimmy if he’ll take something like three years to stick around, if they’re inclined to keep him.

This passage was also pretty good, after the jump:

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“It’s Way Better” – Joel Embiid Describes Improved Communication with Sixers Front Office and Medical Staff

Kevin Kinkead - March 11, 2019

Joel Embiid played five on five for about 75 minutes on Saturday afternoon at the Sixers’ Camden practice facility.

It was more or less a test run for Sunday’s uber-important tilt against the Pacers, but Embiid didn’t come out of the session feeling totally confident in his readiness.

“Saturday it basically told me that I wasn’t ready, because after every game I was on the floor crying for my life,” Embiid joked after the Sixers’ 106-89 victory. “I didn’t think I was going to come in and play. The goal of this (Indiana) game was basically we thought I could only play 24 minutes and depending on my conditioning, I told them ‘let’s just go with the flow of the game’ and I’m glad we got a chance to rest me at the end.”

Embiid wound up playing just under 28 minutes in the win. He isn’t entirely sure what restrictions the medical staff might suggest moving forward, and said no determination has been made regarding back-to-back games.

“We haven’t talked about it,” said Embiid. “I’m sure at some point they’re going to want me to miss another game just to make sure they deliver me to the playoffs in great shape and healthy, which I’ve been the whole season. I was just unfortunate (with the knee). You just gotta go with the flow. If I feel great, and my body feels good, I’m not missing anything.”

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Welcome Back, Joel Embiid – Observations from Sixers 106, Pacers 89

Kevin Kinkead - March 11, 2019

Booed off the floor at one point in the first half on Sunday, the Sixers turned their defense up about five notches in the third quarter to surge past Indiana for a relatively comfortable 17-point win.

It was a critical comeback, one that gave the Sixers the playoff tiebreaker over the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers by virtue of a 3-1 season series victory. That should pretty much do it for Indy as a possible three seed, since five of their remaining 15 games include Boston, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Denver, and Portland, all on the road. It’s quite possible they fall back to 5th place in the east come April.

By far, the most impressive thing about Sunday’s win was the third quarter defensive effort, a very active and intense period in which the Sixers allowed a measly 11 points. Brett Brown’s team erased an eight-point halftime deficit and then pulled ahead in the fourth behind the magic of Joel Embiid, who made his long-awaited and very much needed return to action.

Knocking off the rust

Joel looked rusty in the first half, like a guy who hadn’t played in, well, a few weeks. He took and missed a pair of three pointers, had trouble getting his rhythm down, and was whistled for a couple of foul calls that would normally be atypical for him, including a chase down block where he failed to reach the ball and instead smushed Aaron Holiday into the stanchion.

After a  4-9 first half, Joel woke up in a big way, shooting 7-12 the rest of the way en route to pouring in 33 points on 52% shooting. He didn’t attempt another three pointer and spent most of his time in and around the paint, which is a welcome sight, especially on a return from injury:

Brett Brown pointed out that he was especially happy with Joel committing just two turnovers on Sunday, an area that concerned him heading into this matchup. The head ball coach also brought Embiid back in the game when he had three fouls in the second quarter and four fouls in the third quarter.

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When the Sixers Lose, There’s Blame to go Around

Kevin Kinkead - March 7, 2019

Alright.

Let’s talk about Brett Brown and everything else that went wrong last night.

I’ll frame the article with this disclaimer:

One of the things that bugs me about Philadelphia sports fandom is that we tend to narrow our focus when looking to assign blame. For whatever reason, we insist on pinpointing one specific thing or one specific person when seeking accountability or trying to explain what went wrong over the course of a 60 or 48 minute game. We do it in football, when we say “the offense deserves the blame!” or “the defense deserves the blame!” or “the refs deserve the blame!” While identifiable mistakes might tip the scales towards one or more of those phases of the game, you know as well as I do that there is typically blame to go around when you suffer a bad loss in any sport. It’s very rarely ever on just one person or boiled down to one play.

To that point, there was a lot that went wrong in Chicago last night.

I watched the final five minutes of the game three times this morning and wrote down these bullet point problems:

  1. Robin Lopez was getting offensive rebounds against Mike Scott, who was playing center in the Sixers’ small ball look.
  2. The field goal drought went from 7:10 on the clock to the 3:29 mark. The only points they scored in that time frame were two Ben Simmons free throws.
  3. JJ Redick bad pass turnover looking for Scott
  4. some easy pick and roll switches put Zach LaVine in mismatches against Scott (the bigger, macro-level issue here is that the Sixers still really struggle against good guards)
  5. Redick misses wide-open three after Harris offensive rebound
  6. There was a defensive sequence where Redick got switched onto Lauri Markkanen, Tobias Harris got lost, and Otto Porter was wide-open for a game-tying three-pointer.
  7. Ben Simmons offensive foul while trying to set a screen (kind of a weird call)
  8. Butler offensive foul (I don’t know if this was an over the back, I thought he actually made a good play on the ball)
  9. Simmons lost the ball while driving 1v3 for some reason after a brilliant steal on the defensive end
  10. Scott’s foul on Lopez, which I’m not sure was a foul. He did get some forearm on him before the shot was taken.
  11. Blown switch on LaVine’s game-winning basket
  12. I didn’t like the final play call (the first one). Not sure if Ben was supposed to go to Harris there, but Butler was the target, he was closest to the rim, and his momentum was taking him away from the basket. On the second one, they didn’t run anybody at the rim at all and tried to get Jimmy on a heave.

Thoughts on those bullets after the jump:

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