The Sixers season is back! Well, almost. The Sixers wrapped up their first preseason game last night against the Boston Celtics in explosive fashion, winning 108-99.
It may just be the preseason but the team looked great after knocking off the early rust.
While the fans weren’t around, Head Coach Doc Rivers said after the win that it really felt like a home game. The Sixers won an incredible 88.6% of their home games last season in part thanks to the home crowd.
Hopefully, that feeling continues even without the fans.
There was a lot to note in this win but there are three takeaways in particular that were encouraging.
Pick-And-Roll A Plenty
Before the start of the season, Sixers’ Head Coach Doc Rivers stated he wanted the offense to involve more Pick-and-role. Boy did he mean it.
The offense showed an extreme focus on the PnR and it helped let Joel Embiid loose. The Sixers’ star center piled points early scoring 18 in his lone half while punishing the Celtics’ Robert Williams.
Some fans, players, and even media members were critical of the team last season for not utilizing the PnR often enough. Under Doc Rivers, that won’t be the case as shown tonight.
The Defense is Legit
The Sixers’ defense is officially back. The team, originally aspiring to be a defensive juggernaut, the team disappointed due to poor fit and coaching.
While the Boston Celtics were not toting their best players tonight, they did still have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who combined for a lovely 5/24 from the field.
Ben Simmons and Danny Green played stellar defense but it was players like Tobias Harris and Seth Curry who made a surprising impact defensively.
Harris in particular looked surprisingly competent especially against the dangerous duo that is Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
As a whole, the team defended well holding the Celtics to 43.4% from the field, 28.2% from three, and forcing 11 turnovers (20 total).
The Sixers defense is back and in a big way.
The Shake Show Is Starting Early For Sixers
The star of the night was none other than the Clipper Killer, Shake Milton. Milton beloved by not only the fans but Head Coach Doc Rivers was talked about as a sixth man of the year candidate before the season for fun if nothing else.
Tonight, he really showed that he could belong in that conversation. Scoring a game-high 19 points in 23 minutes, Milton was the spark Philly needed and then some.
While he needs to perform in the regular season and find some consistency at that, it’s an encouraging sign for the future.
Up Next For The Sixers
The Sixers will next travel to Indiana to wrap up their short preseason on Friday 12/18. Tip-off is at 6:00 PM and you can watch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen live at 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire