5 observations from Sixers nail-biting win over the Magic

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Joel Embiid held nothing back against his protégé, Mohamed Bamba, finishing with 32 points and 10 rebounds in a 116-115 win against the Orlando Magic. The Sixers came away with the win thanks to a dagger 3 pointer from J.J. Redick and some helpful contributions from T.J. McConnell and Markelle Fultz. Let’s take a look at some things that stuck out in this game for the Sixers.

 

Joel Embiid’s 3 point shooting
Joel Embiid shot 3 of 5 from deep tonight. Embiid is truly a consistent 3 pointer away from being a top five player in the NBA. After missing most of his 3s in the first two games, it was nice to see him finally settle in behind the arc. Embiid does like to shoot a lot of 3s. If he can knock them down more  like he did tonight, he would become one of the most unstoppable forces in the league.

 

Ben Simmons’ injury
Simmons went out very early in the game with some back tightness and didn’t return. He only missed one game last season, coincidentally against the Orlando Magic. The Sixers play again on Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons. Hopefully Simmons’ back tightness isn’t a serious issue and he can return in time to face Andre Drummond and the Pistons.


Markelle Fultz continues to grow
This is basically Markelle Fultz’s rookie season. He struggled with decision making his first two games but played much more instinctually against the Magic. In Simmons’ absence, Fultz really blossomed running the team. He finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists.

He conducted the offense beautifully, recognized the hot hands in Redick and Embiid, and managed to read the defense well. Fultz is certainly capable of becoming an off ball threat that can play next to Simmons. However, he’s best suited with the ball in his hands and that was very evident tonight.

 

T.J. McConnell is still a stud
With Ben Simmons out, T.J. McConnell really stepped up for the Sixers, as he always has. He came off the bench and provided some excellent minutes for the them. He put up 8 points, 4 rebound, and 4 assists in 25 minutes. McConnell played with heart and grittiness and helped lead the Sixers team in the 4th quarter as the game came to a close. While minutes for McConnell will be hard to find when Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala return to the lineup, he showed that he deserves some regular playing time in the rotation.

 

J.J. Redick is a perfect sixth man
Some people questioned Brett Brown moving Redick to the bench in favor of Markelle Fultz. Redick was a major factor in the Sixers victory over the Magic. As Alex Baker, a fellow Philadelphia Sports Network Sixers reporter put it, “The tenacious defense and fast pace of McConnell, combined with the sharpshooting of Redick, gave the Sixers a confidence boost and allowed them to climb their way out of an early game deficit.”

Not only did Redick put up 31 points and 8 three pointers off the bench but his leadership on the court was spectacular. With a depleted Sixers bench, Redick is the perfect guy to come in and provide some instant offense.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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