In a game that the Sixers had no business being competitive in, the Sixers’ bench showed some guts against the undefeated Phoenix Suns. Unsurprisingly, defense was not the focus of this game for either team but it was a chance for players to earn time in the playoffs.
While they may have lost and the fourth quarter wasn’t particularly close, there were some solid takeaways from the performance.
Kyle O’Quinn and Raul Neto Aren’t Useless
No, O’Quinn and Neto won’t play like this every night but they showed that they are more than the benchwarmers they’re proclaimed to be.
O’Quinn messed around and got one point short of a triple-double while Raul Neto scored 22 points. Both contributed in big ways. While they shouldn’t expect many playoff minutes, the may find the court in cases of injury or foul trouble.
Shake Milton Needs to Step-Up
It’s a lot to ask, but Shake Milton will have to do more to prepare for the playoffs. The issue really starts and ends with confidence.
If Shake can muster the kind of confidence he did against the San Antonio Spurs, the Sixers just might have a chance even without Ben Simmons.
Milton went an uninspiring 0/2 from three, though he was able to rack up seven assists. Milton’s two biggest assets to the Sixers are his ability to shoot and to run the offense in the half-court. If Milton isn’t hitting his shot (or taking them for that matter), the Sixers’ offense will be in huge trouble.
Milton is young but he’s been thrown into the fire, fair or unfair. He’ll need to find confidence and consistency for the team’s sake and his own.
The Bench is Likely Decided
Brett Brown will shorten the rotation once the playoffs begin. The question is, who will make the cut?
Tonight’s game may have answered that question.
The first three off the bench will likely be Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, and Mike Scott. Burks and GR3 are no surprise as they were the Sixers’ big deadline acquisitions, but Scott’s name is surprising. Should it be though? Not only was Scott a revelation tonight (17 points, 3/4 3PT), but he would be the logical choice even if he didn’t play tonight. Scott is a floor-spacing big man, two things the Sixers are light on.
Burks and Robinson meanwhile combined for 38 points and shot 5/11 from three. Again, it’s not surprising that they will play a pivotal role in the postseason, but it is encouraging to see them perform at this level.
After those three it will likely fall to a combo of Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz depending on the need for offense or defense.
Up Next for Sixers
The Sixers may have resigned themselves to the sixth seed and may begin preparing themselves for the Boston Celtics. The rest of their seeding games will likely work towards perfecting the game plan for the Playoffs.
Up next for the Sixers will be Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors. The game is the second of a back-to-back, though it won’t feel as such since the starters were rested.
Tip-off is at 6:30 PM EST and you can watch on ESPN or NBC Sports Philadelphia. You can also listen live at 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
This will be the penultimate game for the Sixers signaling that the Playoffs are almost here.
Mandatory Credit – © Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports