Five things we learned in tonight’s Sixers preseason win

NBA: MAY 05 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3 – Celtics at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The 76ers hit the court against the Brooklyn Nets for their third game of the preseason. The Sixers were missing a ton of key players and still dominated this game. Furkan Korkmaz (27 pts and 3 asts) and Isaiah Joe (20 pts and 3 asts) led the team to a 115-104 victory. 

A new-look lineup

With the Sixers missing five key rotation players out for injury or rest, they went to an all shooting starting lineup. The Sixers started Joel Embiid, Georges Niang, Danny Green, Furkan Korkmaz, and Isaiah Joe.

Early on, the heavy dose of shooting worked. When Brooklyn doubled, Embiid made passes to make them pay. When they didn’t double, Embiid went to work. The ball movement from this unit was beautiful and helped set the tone for the Sixers. Due to the success of this lineup, we should see it deployed more often in the regular season.

Embiid’s Dominance

Joel Embiid looked like his dominant self to begin this preseason game. He scored in a bevy of ways. He scored from the midrange, post, and three point range. The big fella had 14 points in the first 8 minutes of the first quarter, which were his only minutes of the game. We probably won’t see Embiid again this preseason, but it looks he will be ready to go for when it matters most.

No Ben, no problem

With Ben Simmons still MIA and Maxey/ Milton out with injuries, many wondered who would run the offense. Furkan Korkmaz and Isaiah Joe handled the ball for the majority of the game and both did a great job overall. They navigated the pick and roll well to create offense for themselves and others. They only had 7 assists combined, so not all of their passes led to scores, but they helped keep the offense humming. 

When Korkmaz or Joe weren’t handling the ball, the offense ran through Andre Drummond out of the high post. Drummond has worked out of the high post a lot in his career and it is something that he is comfortable with. He made some good passes but also had a few turnovers. He is already an upgrade over Dwight Howard, and if he can clean up turnovers, he can really make a difference with the second unit.

Defense Still an Emphasis

The 76ers defense was swarming against the Brooklyn Nets. The home team played scrappy and out hustled the Nets. They forced the Nets into 27 turnovers and had 20 steals. The Sixers will hang their hat on defense to create scoring opportunities in the regular season, and if they can give this type of effort on most nights, they will be one of the best defenses in the league.

Cup of Joe

What more can you say about Isaiah Joe? His work in the offseason is really showing up on the court. He showed flashes of his ball handling and shooting in the Summer League and it has been on full display in the preseason. Joe is trying to force his way into the rotation, and Doc should absolutely find minutes for him.

Not only has he improved on offense, he has played well on defense as well. His primary defensive assignment was guarding James Harden and did a good job on him. Harden got his points but Joe made a lot of his shots tough shots and even got a few steals pressuring full court. Doc has to play Isaiah Joe, it’s clear!

The Sixers play their fourth preseason game Friday night against the Detroit Pistons. It will be the final game before we see the Blue and White suit up for the regular season.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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