Sixers player grades: Joel Embiid lifts team past Spurs on the road

Joel Embiid led the way as the Philadelphia 76ers knocked off the San Antonio Spurs on the road on Sunday.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been excellent on the road in the 2021-22 season as they entered Sunday’s contest with the San Antonio Spurs by sporting one of the league’s best road records at 16-9. After coming off a disheartening loss at home, the road was a comforting place for the Sixers.

Philadelphia built up a double-digit lead at the half and they were able to close out a pesky San Antonio team that does not quit led by the legendary coach Gregg Popovich and a budding star in Dejounte Murray by a score of 115-109. Joel Embiid had 38 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists to lead Philadelphia as he had himself another impressive night.

Tobias Harris added 18 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, Tyrese Maxey chipped in with 18 and six assists, Furkan Korkmaz added 17, and Isaiah Joe added eight points. Charlie Brown Jr. also added seven points and two steals.

Here are the player grades following a bounce-back win on the road:

Dawn Staley says Sixers have to get something big for star Ben Simmons

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley gives her thoughts on the saga between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Everybody in the basketball world seems to have an opinion on what is going on with Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers. Everybody seems to want to discuss the situation and give their two cents on what is going on around the team and the star player.

Now, Philadelphia basketball legend and South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley has entered the conversation and given her thoughts on the situation. Staley is also an avid Sixers fan and she joined Sixers guard Danny Green and Harrison Sanford on “Inside the Green Room” to give her thoughts on the Simmons saga.

Staley said:

Ben’s gotta go. Ben’s gotta go. Ben’s gotta go. I mean, Ben’s not happy. If he’s not happy, you gotta go. We gotta get some for him though. We got to get something big for him. He’s been great. He’s a stat filler, but we got to get something in return.

The Sixers are currently trying to get everything they possibly can for Simmons at the moment. While they will most likely not move him before the Feb. 10 trade deadline, they are looking to move him in the offseason to get that star player they are hoping to grab and put next to Joel Embiid.

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Sixers continuing to preach quick moves to Tobias Harris on offense

The Philadelphia 76ers are continuing to preach quick decisions to Tobias Harris on the offensive end.

Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris has drawn the ire of the fan base in the City of Brotherly Love as they have been upset with his shooting numbers and his up and down play.

After a near All-Star season in 2021 where he shot 51.2% from the floor and 39.4% from deep while averaging 19.5 points, those numbers have dropped to 46.1% from the floor and just 31.6% from deep. It seems that he has been impacted the most by the absence of Ben Simmons on this roster.

Things have gotten better over his last eight games as he is shooting 50% from the floor and 38.5% from deep while averaging 17.5 points. This is due to coach Doc Rivers continuing to preach quick decisions to him.

“Every day, but you get stuck,” said Rivers. “It happens, you do, and that’s why with all the stuff about Tobias, I was never that concerned. You can see he worked on stuff all summer and that’s what happens. You work on your game, you work on stuff, and the season starts and you try to do it and then you get caught in thought. It happens to a lot of players and they get out of it. Tobias, as you can see, is starting to get out of it.”

There are two games in that stretch that really stick out for Harris. In their Jan. 15 win over the Miami Heat, Harris had 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting and he had 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday as his play was lost in the 50-point barrage from Joel Embiid.

“Very efficient,” Rivers said after the win over Orlando. “We fell on a really nice set in the second half that we worked on and it was very efficient for him because it caught him moving and making quick decisions as well so that was good.”

That’s the big thing with Harris. When he gets caught up in trying to dance and take a guy off the dribble, he can get a little stagnant and the offense for both him and the team overall can be a bit rough. Against the Heat, Harris wasn’t thinking with the basketball. That allowed him to have success out there.

“I like that it’s quicker,” Rivers finished. “He made a lot of plays the other night (against Miami) for not just himself, for everyone. Everything was quick, decisive, I told our guys I thought it was one of our most decisive games. No hesitation.”

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Sixers discuss their struggles against zone defense in loss to Clippers

The Philadelphia 76ers discuss their zone defense struggles in the loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Philadelphia 76ers have a lot of talent on their roster even with Ben Simmons not playing, but they continue to have issues when the opposition goes to a zone defense.

In Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sixers saw a bit of a matchup zone in the third quarter when they were up by 24. A matchup zone is essentially a scheme that combines elements of a man-to-man and a zone that can throw off a team’s offense at times.

The Sixers had issues with it in the third quarter on Friday as they went through a long stretch of time without scoring the ball and turning the ball over. That is something that contributed to Philadelphia letting the big lead slip away as they had issues executing against it.

“I will agree,” said Tyrese Maxey. “We just gotta get into our stuff earlier as soon as we see it. Get into our stuff and execute. We know what to do, we know what to run when we see zone, and we just gotta execute it.”

The Sixers had issues getting into the paint and attacking as they did when they built up their big lead. The Clippers used their length and their scheme to really get into the Sixers and disrupt everything they wanted to do on that end.

“I think when they went to the zone, it kind of pushed us back a little bit on our feet,” said Tobias Harris “Really, we should’ve been attacking the middle and creating straight-line drives, but during the stretch where they had the zone, we were just throwing the ball around the perimeter. We weren’t really creating any movement, or any actions to get downhill. So, I thought that was a key to the game too.”

When it comes to a zone, teams have to attack the middle and kick it out to open triples. The Sixers weren’t able to do so and that created a lot of turnovers and a lot of bad shots. That is when a guy like Maxey has to try and attack it with his speed and quickness.

“When a team goes zone, you either have to get straight-line drives to the basket or 3s,” Harris added. “During that stretch, we weren’t getting either of those.”

Maybe that stretch is where the Sixers were missing injured guard Seth Curry the most. As they were struggling with the zone the Clippers threw, they could have used Curry’s shooting prowess as well as his ability to put the ball on the floor.

“Offensively we missed him,” Harris added. “Just his 3-point shooting, playmaking as well. When guys are out and have a role for our team, we are going to miss them, but to be honest with you, we were up 20 points and we should’ve won the game. We still would’ve missed him then with a win, but at the end of the day, that should’ve been our game, for sure.”

The Sixers will now look to bounce back on Sunday when they take on the San Antonio Spurs on the road.

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Anatomy of a blown lead: Sixers explain what happened in loss to Clippers

The Philadelphia 76ers break down what went wrong while blowing a 24-point lead to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Philadelphia 76ers looked like they were cruising on their way to another win at home when they built a 24-point lead over a shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers team. With the Clippers missing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, it looked like this was going to be an easy win for the Sixers.

However, the Sixers slowly saw their lead evaporate and as Tyrese Maxey’s runner at the buzzer fell short, they took a bad 102-101 loss at home that had everybody asking the same question: what just happened?

This had a Sixers win all over it. Joel Embiid had 40 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists, Tobias Harris had 20 and seven boards, and Maxey had 19. Still, it wasn’t enough. Let’s discuss what happened in the eyes of the Sixers on Friday:

Doc Rivers defends his coaching after Sixers blow lead to Clippers

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers defends his coaching after the team blew a big lead to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Philadelphia 76ers are a team that is expected to be in contention to win a title this season as they have a superstar big man, a solid supporting cast, and a head coach who has accomplished a lot on his resume.

However, during Doc Rivers’ time in Philadelphia, he has blown some large leads and Friday was no different.

The Sixers led by as many as 24 on Friday, but then blew the lead in a 102-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at home. To make matters worse, the Clippers were missing both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard so it makes the loss look even worse when considering that fact.

It brought up memories of the Sixers blowing a 26-point lead at home to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 5 of the 2021 East semifinals in what was a disappointing finish. This is not the first time a Rivers-led team has blown a big lead and he was questioned after the game about how much of the loss can be attributed to coaching.

“I don’t know,” said Rivers. “Would you ask Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) that question? No, you wouldn’t. So don’t ask me that question. I’ve earned that.”

Rivers is absolutely right that he has earned a bit of leeway in this league. He has won a ton of games in his career as he helped the Orlando Magic turn things around in the early 2000s, he won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008, he did a helluva job with the Clippers turning them into a constant contender in the West, and he also led the Sixers to their first No. 1 seed in 2021.

However, it does not change the fact that Rivers-led teams have blown a lot of leads in the playoffs. He is not free from blame for Philadelphia’s failures in the 2021 playoffs and he is not free from blame for Friday’s collapse.

He has been able to lead his team through adversity before and he will have to do it again in this situation.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Sixers player grades: Shorthanded Clippers rally from 24 down to stun Sixers

The shorthanded version of the Los Angeles Clippers were able to rally from a big deficit to knock off the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been playing some good basketball of late as they have been taking advantage of what has been a soft schedule as of late to move up in the standings. They looked to do the same on Friday when the Los Angeles Clippers came to town while missing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

After a slow start that saw them fall behind the Clippers by 13, the Sixers went on a big run spanning across the end of the first and into the second quarter that saw them build a 24-point lead. However, they could not sustain it as the Clippers put on a huge rally to stun the Sixers 102-101.

Joel Embiid had 40 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists to lead the way for Philadelphia, Tyrese Maxey added 19 points and seven assists, and Tobias Harris added 20, seven rebounds, and four assists. Georges Niang had seven and four boards off the bench while Andre Drummond added five and 11 rebounds.

Here are the player grades following a tough loss to take:

Seth Curry out vs. Clippers, Sixers to start Isaiah Joe in his place

The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Seth Curry against the Los Angeles Clippers and they will start Isaiah Joe in his place.

The Philadelphia 76ers will be a bit shorthanded when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. They already knew they would be down the likes of Shake Milton, Danny Green, and Matisse Thybulle, but they will now be down another starter.

Seth Curry will miss the matchup due to left ankle soreness and that means the Sixers will be missing their sharpshooting guard. He is a big loss not only because of his shooting, but due to his two-man growth with Joel Embiid and his ability to make plays for others.

With Curry out, the Sixers will turn to second-year man Isaiah Joe in the starting lineup. This gives Joe an opportunity to step up to the challenge and show that he deserves more playing time.

With the Sixers so thin in the backcourt, this could also give guys like Charlie Brown Jr. and rookie Jaden Springer a chance to step in and give the team a big boost.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Doc Rivers explains why Sixers called up Jaden Springer from G League

Doc Rivers explains why the Philadelphia 76ers brought up Jaden Springer from the G League.

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Jaden Springer has been up and down between the Sixers and the team’s G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, all throughout the season. The 28th pick in the 2021 NBA draft has been in need of development so it makes sense.

He has played only two games for the Sixers all season and has scored two points, but he has played well in spurts for Delaware.

He is averaging 23.7 points and shooting 35.7% from deep over his last three games for the Blue Coats and he earned a call up to the Sixers on Friday. However, it is mostly due to Philadelphia needing bodies at the moment as coach Doc Rivers has not seen much of his rookie.

“Really, nothing, honestly,” said Rivers. “Just with the injuries we’re having, we just felt like we needed another body. We’re just gonna need bodies right now. Guys are out, not sure when anyone’s coming back, and that’s why we brought him up.”

The Sixers are still missing the likes of Danny Green, Shake Milton, and Matisse Thybulle so it does make sense as to why the Sixers brought up Springer. At this point, it will be on him to continue to work in practice and show his game in the little time he does get.

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Doc Rivers wants Sixers to target playmaking at the trade deadline

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers would like the team to target a playmaker at the trade deadline.

The Philadelphia 76ers will likely be one of the more active teams leading up to the Feb. 10 trade deadline as they have a big situation to settle in terms of Ben Simmons.

While it seems unlikely that the Sixers will move Simmons at the deadline, the Sixers still have some needs they have to address. They want to be able to put Joel Embiid in the best position to win a title right now while he is playing at such an elite level and they want to make a splash at the deadline in order to get it done.

One of the areas the Sixers struggle in is rebounding where they are dead last in the league at 42.1 rebounds per game. That can be an issue in the playoffs and they are also just 23rd in assists at 22.7 per game, both numbers per basketball-reference.

Coach Doc Rivers wants the Sixers to focus on those aspects at the deadline.

“We haven’t rebounded consistently,” said Rivers. “That would be one. Playmaking would be something that I think we need. I’ve had a lot of success getting teams to the playoffs and never struggled with that, but you need playmakers in the playoffs. You just do.”

When it comes to the playoffs, it is, obviously, an entirely different game than the regular season. A team isn’t allowed to run their offense as smoothly as they have before and that is where playmaking comes in.

“They’re gonna take you out of your stuff,” Rivers added. “You need guys to be able to make plays for themselves and for others and the more you have, the better team you have, and the better chance you have.”

As far as the personnel in charge of making those moves–president Daryl Morey and GM Elton Brand–Rivers has the utmost trust in them to get the job done for this team.

“I trust what we’re doing,” the coach finished. “I have stayed out of it for the most part thus far and I think we’ll end up just fine.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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