Sixers Fall to Celtics in game three of NBA Summer League

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 09 Tennessee at Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, TX – JANUARY 09: Tennessee Volunteers guard Jaden Springer (11) drives around Texas A&M Aggies guard Jay Jay Chandler (0) during the basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Texas A&M Aggies at Reed Arena on January 9, 2021 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

Despite a dominant first two games, the Sixers were handed their first loss against a solid Boston Celtics summer roster. The team clearly did not look the same without Tyrese Maxey and the Celtics, now with a 4-0 record, also looked to be the best summer league team they have faced so far. Ultimatley the Sixers fell by a score of 100-80, with the Celtics controlling the game wire-to-wire.

Tyrese Maxey Was Missed

Reports came out this morning that Tyrese Maxey had left the team to participate in a youth basketball camp in his hometown of Garland, Texas. This decision was approved by the Sixers ahead of time and was no surprise to the team.

It is disappointing for Maxey to no longer be with the team, but he has nothing left to prove at this stage. He ended his summer league debut with averages of 26 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2 steals. per game. The second-year player proved to be the best player on the court the entire time he was here and forcing himself into the “too good for Summer League” category is a major credit to the work Maxey has put in.

The Sixers greatly missed Maxey’s presence on the court in this matchup. The offense did not look as fluent and the eye-popping presence of the guard was noticeably absent. Frank Mason was given the open spot in the starting lineup and handled most of the ball-handling duties. The 27-year-old has bounced between the NBA and G-League throughout his career and record time in 103 NBA games. Mason ended with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 turnovers. He showed some positive flashes and was far form the reason for the loss, but filling the shoes of Tyrese Maxey proved to be an impossible task.

Outside of Mason, Rayjon Tucker and Daishen Nix also spent some time running the offense. Tucker struggled in this role and did not register an assist in his 13 minutes of play. The human highlight reel did not truly get going in this one and shot 1-4 from the field and ended with 6 points and 3 rebounds.

Daishen Nix clocked just over 15 minutes of gametime where he added 7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 2 steals. He also coughed up two turnovers which Head Coach Brian Adams talked about as a concern following the game. When asked about what the 19-year-old brings to the team Adams put it, “He’s got a real good feel for passing and he’s got good size at the point guard position. For us it’s about him taking care of the ball a little more, being a little more aggressive, and we got to continue to build him on the defensive end.” Adams mentioned that it is clear why he was so targeted by the G-League Ignite last season and praised his feel as a passer and overall potential.

This Felt Like… Sumer League

Coming on the heels of two impressive wins from the Sixers, the loss seemed more sour than it should have. Led by guys like Carsen Edwards, Aaron Nesmith, and Romeo Langford, the Celtics played multiple players who will have rotational roles on the regular roster. Without Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers were overmatched by the Celtics roster and several guys with a much less clear NBA path attempted to fill the void.

As expected Isaiah Joe was the leading scorer for the Sixers with 15 points. It was not Joe’s best performance as he struggled to find his shot and ended with shooting splits of 5-15 from the field and 5-13 from beyond the arc. He also added 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal while turning the ball over 4 times.

Paul Reed picked up right where he left off to start the game looking active on the boards and on the defensive end. Despite the early success, the former G-League MVP was unable to sustain this and ended with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.

When thinking about European big men attempting to make the NBA transition, most expect a polished offensive game with some questions defensively. This is the opposite of the case with Filip Petrusev. The Serbian big once again flashed his defensive skills with 3 impressive blocks. Petrusev has no recorded 2 or more blocks in all three summer league game and the instincts and timing he has shown for this is a pleasant surprise.

Offensively, things are far from polished for Petrusev. Despite averaging 23.6 points and shooting 41.9% from beyond the arc, the big man has failed to find his stride on the offensive side of the ball. In total he shot 1 of 7 from the field tonight and added just 2 points. It seems a wise move to keep him stashed overseas for the year as his offense is far from ready to help the Sixers the way his game currently is.

Once again there were a few plays where Jaden Springer flashed the potential he possesses, but for the most part was content with not being a significant part of the offense. The 18-year-old looked solid defensively once again, but came up short on several shots on the offensive end. Ultimatley, Springer ended with 6 points and shot 3 of 11 from the field.

Aaron Henry showed some positive flashes and ended with 7 points and 7 rebounds, although he also shot poorly from the field. His left handed stroke looked smooth, but Henry shot just 3 of 9 from the field and 0 of 2 from beyond the arc. He will be an exciting guy to watch develop on his two-way deal, but the Michigan State product is far from ready to play NBA minutes. Even so, it should be looked at as a major positive that he has improved each game so far in summer league.

With Tyrese Maxey seemingly staying away for the remainder of Summer League, some excitement has been taken away from this Sixers team. They will be back in action again tomorrow to play the Timberwolves summer squad at 7 o’clock. The TWolves do not have as talented of a summer crew, so look for the Sixers to get back on the positive side of things.

Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire