The Sixers enter Tuesday’s match-up with Minnesota looking to break a four game losing streak.
Philly fell to New Orleans 131-124 in what was a surprisingly close game given that the Sixers played without Covington, McConnell and Embiid.
The first two, RoCo and TJ, were scratched earlier in the day but it was Embiid that wasn’t listed out until 2 minutes prior to the tip-off.
Joel sat due to back tightness. The announcement was a shock to not just fans but even daily draft companies like Draft.com.
Without Joel Philly battled all game long and newly acquired Trevor Booker played very well. He finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds but it was his intensity that was the most impressive part of his game. He drew a number of fouls and was crashing the glass strong all game.
Quick thoughts on the Okafor trade.
It was something that everyone knew had to get done. Every person that follows basketball knew that Philadelphia wasn’t going to win any trades that involved Jah. They gave away him along with Stauskas and a meaningless draft pick for Booker. He’s averaging just over 10 points and 6 rebounds a game.
He’ll be an energy guy for this team off the bench and from what we’ve seen in the small sample size so far for Philly, he plays with a lot more gitty-up than Okafor.
JJ Redick lead the team with 28 points and finally looked confident shooting going 8 for 14 from the field. Ben Simmons had another double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds but more importantly (he types sarcastically) he was 7 for 9 from the free throw line!
The worst second half team in the league was just that again on Sunday.
They allowed New Orleans to score 44 points in the 4th quarter, 17 of those coming from former Sixer Jrue Holiday.
Holiday ended up with 34 points and every time the Sixers made a run Jrue seemed to make a play.
Embiid’s news breaking the same day as Wentz getting injured is disheartening to say the least. At this time, it is still unknown the extent of the big man’s injury. What is known and very clear is that they need him back as soon as possible.
The Sixers are a dismal 1-5 over the last 6 games. The opposing teams are averaging 111.5 per game during that time frame. They find themselves sitting right at .500 again and there is a feeling of panic around this team.
Tuesday night Philadelphia prepares to play the 16-11 and currently 4th seeded Timberwolves. Last year these two teams split the season series a game apiece, both taking home court victories. Karl Anthony-Towns was simply brilliant in both games.
The first game he posted 25 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks as the T-Wolves crushed the Sixers 110-86. Though the Sixers did win the second game 93-91 KAT was even more dominant finishing with 23 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. If Embiid can’t play in this game KAT is going to look to feast on the undermanned Philadelphia front court.
Though the last two weeks have been brutal for this team it’s no time to start panicking just yet. Keep in mind this is the third youngest roster in the league. Young = mistakes, that’s just how it goes.
Also Philadelphia through 26 games has played the NBA’s toughest schedule year to date. Add that to the fact that this squad has dealt with their fair share of early season injuries and it’s difficult to call .500 basketball a failure.
Fultz is being reevaluated in a few weeks and is pain free in his shoulder. This isn’t good news, this is great news!
If Embiid is truly only experiencing some slight back tightness then the Sixers are on the verge of being at full strength relatively soon. Just in time for their schedule to get a little easier as well.
Over the course of the next 10 games the team with the best record currently that they will play are the Timberwolves. After Tuesday 6 of the next 9 games will be against teams that are at .500 or below.
The Sixers have an opportunity coming to finish 2017 strong going into the unofficial second half of the season.
At the end of the day Philadelphia still has a ton of work left to do but don’t hit the panic button just yet. This team is still on track to make the playoffs and if they stay healthy they are going to be a team that no one wants to see in the first round.