The Sixers lost their season opener in the same way that they lost in last years playoffs. Poor shooting, turnovers and poor communication. So what went right and what went wrong?
Ben Simmons picked up where he left off last year
Finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals, Simmons seemed to be in mid-season form from the start. He started to assert himself early on and it showed that he can be even better than last year. His free throw shooting (5-11) still needs to improve, but he’s moving well, seeing the court well and showed that he can be an unstoppable force on the floor. If he continues to be assertive, the league will be in trouble.
Joel Embiid is not getting low enough
If Embiids goal was to be a bully in the low post, he didn’t show tht tonight. He consistently takes the ball around 8-10 feet from the basket and tries to dribble in to position. He needs to start low on the block and take the feeds that come to him. He can use his vast array of moves to get the points. While he finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, he still had 5 turnovers and seemed to lose focus at points in the game. He was blocked down low a couple of times and that needs to stop by making his decision with the ball more quickly.
Dario wasn’t effective
Dario picked up quick fouls and never got in to a rhythm. He was 3-8 from the field including 0-4 from the three-point line. There was nothing that Saric could do and it hurt the Sixers as a team with having him on the bench and not getting good minutes. If the sixers are to do anything, Saric needs to be on the floor and playing effectively.
Landry Shamet was a non-factor
Shamet, who coming out of college, was considered the top shooter in the draft class, missed all of his field goal attempts. Could be nerves. Could be that he didn’t get very good looks. It was his first game and he’ll wind up connecting, but he needs to produce if he wants to see valuable minutes on the team.
The Sixers missed Muscala and Chandler
With Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler out for the opener, the Sixers lacked any sort of depth that they thought they would have to compete with the Celtics. While neither are superstars, they both provide quality minutes and would be much better on the second unit than what we saw tonight from Amir Johnson, TJ McConnell, and Landry Shamet. Those guys have to get healthy and on the floor if the Sixers are to compete.
Markelle Fultz played
What else can you say about Fultz? He didn’t play poorly, but he didn’t play very well either. He finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds, but didn’t really do much on the floor. Playing him with Simmons basically puts the Sixers with two guys that can dribble and distribute but can’t shoot the ball. Fulzt should be the first guy off the bench and leading the second team. If he continues to play with Simmons, it may get him some confidence off some Simmons passes, but playing on the second unit would allow him to play more of his game. Having him bring the ball up and hand off to Simmons does nothing for him or the team.
Poor Shooting is contagious
The team shot 39% from the field. 19% from three pointers. For a team that’s built on moving the ball and getting people open shots, it didn’t happen tonight. Redick started to get better as the game went on, but still only hit 2-8 from three and 7-17 overall from the field. The team, as a whole, just couldn’t knock down shots while the Celtics came alive in the second half and weren’t missing. The Celtics played with a lot of energy at the end of the game and the Sixers looked resigned to losing the game.
Hopefully, it’s just some rust as well as them having to get used to playing meaningful games and not a consistent way that they’ll play throughout the season. It’s only game one of the season, but it will sure give Brett Brown a lot to look at for the next game.
Game 2 is Thursday 10/18 at 8:00 pm against the Chicago Bulls.
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports