On Friday, the Sixers once again played down to their opponent and lost to the OKC Thunder. This team is thoroughly frustrating, they can’t seem to get out of their own way. The Stars haven’t progressed and the big-time additions (Tobias Harris) haven’t shown to be the best fit. The Sixers are currently 7-5 and will need to pick up the pace in order to claim a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference.
Teams are finding ways to kill the Sixers left and right and there’s not one problem to point out as to why. The players have played poorly and the coach has coached poorly. Tobias Harris had a decent bounce-back game but consistency is needed before thinking his play is no longer an issue.
This will be the second time the Sixers play the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. The Sixers won the first meeting by a score of 98-97 in a game that was much closer than it should have been. Joel Embiid dominated with 27 points and 16 rebounds, the Sixers will need another performance like this from Embiid to have a chance.
Defensively, the Sixers must find a way to stop Jordan Clarkson who lit them up last game. The hot and cold guard struggled to find his role until joining Cleveland as a thriving sixth man. Clarkson threw up 20 points in their last meeting.
Keys to the game
Pick your poison
The Cavaliers have three combo guards sharing time at both the point and shooting guard. Collin Sexton, the second-year guard out of Alabama has already made a name for himself as an excellent scorer and one of the quickest players in the NBA. Jordan Clarkson who I mentioned earlier is another combo guard who can find the bottom of the net easily when he gets hot. It will be very difficult to stop three scoring guards so focusing on stopping two may be the best option.
Rookie Darius Garland was selected with the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft. The young scoring guard will one day be an electric player but for now, he’s a rook and the Sixers need to force him to make plays. He’s young and has struggled so far to figure out his game at this level. Make Garland beat you and focus on defending the other two guards.
Get to the line
The Sixers have had trouble recently getting to the free-throw line which is where often they win games. The Sixers aren’t a great half-court team so free points are encouraged. They may not be the most effective at the line but that’s only another reason to go to the line more often. More opportunity means more points.
Work the ball down low and force contact because by doing that, you not only have a chance for free points, but you can force opponents into foul trouble limiting their impact.
It’s early in the season but this game would already be crushing if they find a way to lose. The Boston Celtics are pushing further and further away by the day. This is not how the season was supposed to start.
Catch the game Sunday, November, 17th at 3:00 PM EST. You can watch live on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen at 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports