Everyone thought — me included — that this year would be a tire fire for the Knicks. Carmello is gone and they have only Porzingis to fall back on. But surprisingly, the Knicks are at 500 and in the hunt for a playoff position.
Vut ze hell? The reason may be great coaching. Jeff Hornacek has the Knicks playing an old fashioned type of game — crashing to boards for offensive rebounds. And with two 7 footers on the floor, they are getting their share.
So why do other teams not try to do this? If you crash the offensive boards and don’t get the rebound, the other side has a fast break opportunity. Most teams (especially small ball teams) elect to get back fast rather than risk getting killed in transition.
BI offers more detail on this strategy. with some video Very interesting!
All you need to know about last night’s game is this. Trailblazer emerging star CJ McCollum (traded by the Sixers during the process when McCollum wouldn’t sign a rookie deal) went 1 for 14 from the field. Ouch! Trailblazer star scored 30 but was 11 for 27. Ouch!
What happened? They were spooked by Embiid in the paint, and dogged by the combination of Simmons, Roco, and JJ. In short, the Sixers won this game on the defensive end of the court.
Most impressive, the Sixers never really let the Trailblazers in the game. The dominated a team that up to then had looked good. Next up, the Magic — a team that is 8 – 10, Beatable. But after that, the Sixers play the Cavs, Wizards, Celtics, and Pistons before they get the lowly Suns. Gulp!
As many have said, this part of the Sixer schedule is brutal. Good thing the team is coming together. And good thing that Simmons and Embiid are playing at awesome levels. Embiid commented that he thinks that he is the best defensive player in the league. I agree. And Simmons? The dude is a rookie and he is playing like an all star. Go figure! With those two on the court, the Sixers have a fighting chance to get through this hump in their schedule still over 500.Over the next 3 games I think they will get 4 wins and 2 losses. That would be excellent!
The Sixers thrashed the Jazz last night without breaking a sweat. Errr … thanks to Ben Simmons who had a titanic second half.
This was not great basketball. But the Sixers demonstrated that they can control the pace against lesser teams. Keep in m ind that the Jazz just thrashed the Magic by 40 a few days ago. So they are capable of waking up. Thanks to Ben and Joel, they did not wake up last night.
So what did Simmons do? He scored as needed, rebounded, and stole the ball just enough to keep the Jazz off balance. In fact, it was a career night for him with 27 points. Errr .. a career that is less than 20 games old. And Ben seemed to realize that the Sixers need a boost in the second half. He showed a killer instinct. Much needed!
Embiid, on the other hand, did only as much as needed. I think he was a bit sore, and it showed in how he moved. Let’s hope that that wears off.
My favorite moment (you can see the video from the above link)
Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell (who subscribes to the “shooters shoot” philosophy) went full YOLO mode in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter, and tried to drive on Joel Embiid…. it did not end well.
Errr … YOLO mode?
Back to the story! Embiid, being Embiid, taunted Mitchell, yelling “Get that shit out of here!” Mitchell lost his cool and after lifting his carcass off the floor, gave Embiid a shove. Embiid did a pratfall and got the call for a foul. Mitchell had to explain that to the coach while Embiid egged the crowd on.
HeeHee! Life in the NBA.
I thought that the Sixers/Warriors game would be worth watching, and I was half right. The first half was well worth it. But the second half? Only if you are a Warriors fan.
First, the good news. Watching the Sixers play in the first half was like being transported to another dimension — to basketball nirvana. The Sixers were in incredible synch. Their stars were doing their thing. The supporting cast was doing its thing. And their outside shots were falling. It was a thing of intense beauty. I especially loved the defense. Durant coughed up the ball a number of times. Curry looked frustrated. Heehee! My how the might have fallen! A key point — Ben Simmons is in charge on offense. And that works very well, even though the dude does not have a jump shot yet.
I can’t help making one more point. It is pure joy to watch undrafted Roco rain down 3’s against the best in the league. He was awesome in the first half!
Errr … but then came the second half. And in the second half, we saw once more that the Sixers are a young team. They can easily get disjointed. They can and do let other teams back in games. And the Warriors regained composure and control. Teams that win championships do that.
Having said that, I think we will see more of the first half Sixers in the games to come. And when that happens, no team in the NBA can beat the Sixers … in the first half.
This just about says it all
Simply put, this game will be an incredibly good measuring stick to see just how much this 76ers team has grown over the last few weeks, and with a little luck, could become the signature win of the Brett Brown-era.
The Sixers are coming off a high after whipping the Clippers and the Lakers. Embiid seems to be in synch. And the Warriors have no one in the middle who can match up with him. Curry is hurt.Most important – the Sixers need to prove that they can beat a top team.
Too bad for you if you missed the Sixers/Lakers game the other night. Despite the fact that Sixer 3 ball shooters seemed to be suffering from acute myopia (meaning their shooting was worse than dreadful, expect for Roco who made a great 3 at the end>), the game was very fun to watch.
Most fun of all was watching Emperor Embiid demolish whoever the Lakers chose to guard him and almost single handedly make the Sixer defense credible. Without him, the Sixers would not have been close. But Embiid not only showed up to play, he started showing the alarming potential that we suspect that he has. He is getting his game together. The scary thing is that he will get better still!
In addition, Ben Simmons did his thing, which btw, is pretty amazing, especially for a rookie who can’t shoot – he nearly pulled off a triple double. And Brandon Ingram played the best game of his career for the Lakers. Lonzo was not a factor, but Kyle Kuzma — a much lower draft pick — was impressive.
Here is video of 4 amazing moments generated by Embiid. I highly recommend checking it out! When you watch, keep in mind that this dude is 7 foot 2 inches tall!
So the Warriors are up next. They just lost to the Celtics in a very close game and the Sixers have something to prove after having been blown out by them the other week.
This will be a game well worth watching!
This is not a team that makes viewing easy. I keep telling myself, that young teams make lots of mistakes. But it does not help me get through these games without howling at the moon!
Last night’s squeaker against the Clippers is a case in point. Early on, the Sixers looked like they were in control . Yeah, right. That control was lost of course, and then the game went back and forth up to the end. But this time … unlike the other night when I had a bad feeling about the Kings … I had the sense that the Sixers had an even chance.
And thank the Lord for Roco! He came thorough with the most beautiful 3 that I have ever seen! Pay the dude! His contract extension is up. The Sixers pulled it out! Indeed, Simmons helped out as well, making 2 important foul shots at the end. Who said he couldn’t shoot free throws?
Simmons and Embiid did their thing throughout. Though Dario pulled a real stinker. And JJ seemed to have forgotten his contact lenses – he couldn’t buy a 3. BTW, Liberty Ballers sums the game up well — with some video. Check it out!
So, next up – the Lakers on Wednesday. Call my cardiologist!
A final note — Long ago, I complained that by trading Nerlens, the Sixers gave up the chance to have 40 minutes of rim protection. This is now becoming a real problem. Each time Embiid sits out, the Sixers get torched in the paint. Perhaps we just need to give Holmes a chance to grow into a defensive role. But beware Sixers fans when you see Embiid head to the bench! Dunks for the opposing side are soon to follow!