The Sixth Man: What we learned about the Sixers in preseason opener

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Amidst controversy between the NBA and China, the Philadelphia 76ers traveled to LJVM Coliseum to take on the Charlotte Hornets to open the preseason. As one of the few selected teams to play basketball in a connected relationship between the NBA and China, the Sixers defeated the Guangzhou Loong Lions, 144-86. It would be the first opportunity for Philadelphia fans to catch a glimpse of the starting five against a new opponent. The starters saw limited action, but Ben Simmons was able to flex a three-point shot from well behind the arc.

Taking those highlights into their first preseason game, Brett Brown and the Philadelphia 76ers had the opportunity to see what they had off the bench in a scenario where Joel Embiid wouldn’t play. This preseason contest against the Charlotte Hornets served as a mock of how the Sixers would commit to spreading minutes to other players in the absence of Embiid during load management benchings. Without Embiid, Philadelphia shot 45.8% from the field, including a 25% three-point conversion rate, and a below-average 68.2% free throw shooting percentage. In comparison, the Hornets shot 36.3% from the field, including a 28.6% three-point conversion rate, and a good 88.5% free throw shooting percentage.

Scoring left something more to be desired in this preseason contest from the free-throw line. Where the Philadelphia 76ers won this game lies within the playmaking statistics. The Sixers, sans Joel Embiid, out-dueled the Charlotte Hornets on the court. Philadelphia out-rebounded passed the ball more efficiently, blocked more shots, created more turnovers, and won the game in the paint against the Charlotte Hornets. The only other real downfall for the Sixers is that they committed more fouls than the Hornets. The final score, in regulation, was 100-87 in favor of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia 76ers – Josh Richardson

“JRich” led the Philadelphia 76ers in scoring against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night with eighteen points in twenty-five minutes. Showing that he can make his own space with a dangerous step back, mid-range jump shot, Richardson showed just how he can contribute on the offense in his first preseason game. Adding to the eighteen points, he contributed two rebounds and four assists.

Charlotte Hornets – Dwayne Bacon

On the opposing team, Dwayne Bacon led the Charlotte Hornets in scoring against the Philadelphia 76ers with seventeen points in twenty-six minutes. Bacon drove down the lane a few times last night for a smooth finish and contributed an additional five rebounds and an assist. Furthermore, I learned that Bacon dropped a ten-song album with teammate Miles Bridges. It looks like Bacon will be making music on and off the court with his Hornets teammates.

Philadelphia 76ers – Kyle O’Quinn

The team leader in assists for the Philadelphia 76ers was “K.O.” He dished out five that led to scores, grabbing four rebounds, and scoring two points while on the court. O’Quinn played fourteen minutes and made them count. He showed depth versatility for the Sixers. His finest assist was to Raul Neto to score two of his six total points.

Charlotte Hornets – Devonte’ Graham

For the Charlotte Hornets, Devonte’ Graham matched the assist output that Kyle O’Quinn produced for the Philadelphia 76ers. His five rebounds were combined with two rebounds and eight points. Graham also played ten more minutes than O’Quinn. Style points to Graham’s ‘alley’ to PJ Washington’s ‘oop.’

Philadelphia 76ers – Al Horford

“The Godfather” nearly hit double digits in the rebound category, finishing the victory against the Charlotte Hornets with nine rebounds. With one more rebound, Al Horford would have had a double-double in his preseason debut with the Philadelphia 76ers. However, I thought Horford’s steal that led to a bucket on an assist from Ben Simmons was his best play. Making offense out of defense, Simmons served as the ‘alley’ to Horford’s ‘oop.’ Horford finished with eleven points and three assists alongside his rebounds in twenty-two minutes.

Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Both Miles Bridges and MKG had seven rebounds each, but of the two, Bridges played the more complete game. Kidd-Gilchrist had five points and no assists in fourteen minutes with his rebounds while Bridges added twelve points and three assists in thirty-one minutes.

Up next for the Philadelphia 76ers is the Orlando Magic at 6p on October 13th, 2019 live from the Amway Center in Orlando, FL.

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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