6 observations from Sixers-Hawks

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6 observations from Sixers-Hawks

The Sixers started January with back-to-back wins, but they weren’t able to finish the month the same way.

Atlanta smacked the Sixers around, 125-99, Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center despite a big night from Thad Young (see Instant Replay).

Here are a few observations from the game:

1. Young and restless
Fresh off his All-Star snub, Young played like he wanted to prove something to Atlanta’s newly-named All-Star Paul Millsap and the rest of the NBA. Young had 23 points in the first half on his way to 29 on 11 for 19 shooting.

Had the game not been such a blowout, Young likely would have logged more minutes and had more chances to score.

Nevertheless, Young’s production dwarfed the rest of his teammates. During the first quarter, Young had six of the Sixers’ seven field goals. For the first half, Young shot 8 for 14 while the rest of the team went a combined 9 for 26.

Through three quarters Young had 29 points on 11 for 18 shooting while the other four starters combined to shoot 5 for 22 for 16 points.

Ouch.

2. He keeps going and going and going and going …
Former Sixers sharpshooter Kyle Korver made three three-pointers for the Hawks to extend his NBA-record streak to 114 straight games with a three-pointer. Korver also made both of the free throws he attempted and has hit 25 in a row.

Korver has not missed a foul shot since Dec. 10 and is 40 for 43 (93 percent) this season.

3. Old Man River keeps rollin’
Heading into Friday night’s game, ex-Sixer Elton Brand had not scored more than 10 points in a game this season and logged more than 20 minutes just five times. But in 23 minutes against his old team, the “beat up old Chevy” scored a season-high 18 points with eight rebounds.

4. Button your lip
For as much complaining as coach Brett Brown does about the Sixers’ complaining on the court, one would think the message would seep through. Instead, the mouthy Sixers paid the price with two more technical fouls Friday night.

Spencer Hawes picked up his seventh technical of the season, which is the third-most in the NBA. Evan Turner got technical No. 4 for the season and his second this week.

5. Loooooooooou!
Before the game, former Sixer Lou Williams said he likely would not be 100 percent recovered from ACL surgery until next season. As a result, Williams said he is using this season, “to learn some new things.”

While Williams learns those new things, he hasn’t lost his penchant for firing up shots.

In 21 minutes, Williams scored 12 points on 10 shots, including 5 for 5 from the foul line.

6. Dedmon walking?
In what could be his last game with the Sixers as his 10-day contract is set to expire Saturday, center Dewayne Dedmon scored a basket, grabbed four rebounds and blocked three shots in 16 minutes.

Though the contract is set to expire, it seems as if the Sixers will keep Dedmon around (see story).

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

With the NBA's glorified exhibition in the rearview mirror, we reenter reality of the remaining NBA season. The Sixers still are looking for suitors for Jahlil Okafor while questions swirl around about the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

Some claim they are tanking still, and if those people are talking about the recent NBA power rankings then they would be right. 

Games before the All-Star break
Last Monday and Wednesday the Sixers split their two games before the break, beating the Hornets and losing to the Celtics. 

Dario Saric continues to be the Sixers' most productive player in the absence of Embiid. In the short week, he averaged 19 points (a team leader in that category both games) and 11 rebounds. 

T.J. McConnell continues to control the floor at the point, dishing out seven assists against the Hornets and eight against the Celtics. 

An inability to finish has been the story for the Sixers without Embiid. The Sixers led by one at the half against the Hornets and were tied with the Celtics at the midway point. These are good signs, but these guys are far from being contenders in the east. The experts agree. 

What's next
Only two games this week for the 76ers: Friday at home against the Wizards (7 p.m./CSN) and on the road on Sunday to play the Knicks (7:30 p.m./CSN).

What the experts say
ESPN’s Marc Stein had some fun with his rankings this week using tweets and memes to describe a team’s current situation. The Sixers dropped from 20 to 23 in his rankings — not a significant drop but a drop nonetheless. 

He used this one in his evaluation of the Sixers:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumped the Sixers up from 22 to 21 this week. He sees great improvement in Saric’s game stating: “Saric has already shown a lot of improvement and TLC, with his length on the perimeter, could prove to be a great fit next to the other core pieces if he can knock down shots.”

He added a positive thought on the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Sixers still made out well even though they were not able to ship Okafor to the Pelicans. 

“The Sixers lost a potential trading partner with the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, but still came out a winner in the deal, because they can swap first round picks with the Kings this year and own Sacramento's pick (with no protections) in 2019.”

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes did not move the 76ers from the 21 spot on his list last week. He writes that he is intrigued with this processing team: “Sorry, but I'm never going to stop being delighted by the Sixers finding ways to win.”

He made his prediction for games won by the Sixers if they get Embiid back on the court: “It's hard to know what Simmons might bring, but Embiid's contributions are well understood. If he makes it back and looks healthy, Philly could easily win 30-plus games.”

Finally, Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch dropped the Sixers from 27 to 28 – yikes! His outlook is very pessimistic as he looks exclusively at the injuries of Embiid and Simmons. He writes that a complete shutdown of Simmons would make sense as the season’s end gets closer by the day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give and Go: Do Joel Embiid's injuries limit his ceiling?

Give and Go: Do Joel Embiid's injuries limit his ceiling?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we describe Joel Embiid's rookie season.

Haughton
There are so many different ways to go when describing Joel Embiid's long-awaited rookie season.

The numbers say dominant. Embiid leads all rookies in points (20.2), rebounds (7.8) and blocks (2.4) per game. He's also second in field goal percentage (46.6) among first-year players.

Of course, the injury situation — and handling of it by the team — has made Embiid's first season a bit frustrating. After waiting two seasons for the center to overcome foot injuries, you can understand the team's cautious approach. However, the almost random playing patterns at times and the near radio silence on his medical status has left a bad taste.

Still, overall I would say Embiid's rookie campaign has been refreshing for the franchise. Following three straight seasons of absolute abysmal basketball, the Sixers finally appear to have a real building block. 

Not only that, but Embiid also gives them a charismatic personality that is filling up the Wells Fargo Center again and being recognized on a national stage. You can't ask for much more after what the organization endured in recent years.

Hudrick
Describing Embiid's season depends on which perspective you're looking at it from. 

When he's been on the court, it's been unbelievable. He's a 22-year-old Cameroonian who's only been playing the game of basketball for a few years. He also didn't play for two years after two foot surgeries. Even with all that, he's been the most exciting basketball player this city has seen since Allen Iverson.

From a statistical standpoint, his numbers align with some of the greatest rookie big men of all time. While mentioning Embiid and Hakeem Olajuwon in the same breath may be premature, it's an indication of just how spectacular he has been. Their rookie seasons actually compare favorably.

Of course, the injuries are concerning. Will he ever be a full-time player? Embiid recently expressed his interest in playing back-to-back games. The organization won't give him the opportunity this year and I'm not sure how many opportunities they'll give him in the future. 

With that said, Embiid can still make an impact in 60-something games a season. When he's on the court, he can be one of the most dominant players in the league. When healthy, Embiid is the most exciting athlete in Philadelphia.