Sixers Waste Embiid’s Monster Performance Against Pacers


The Philadelphia 76ers dropped their Bubble opener last night to the Indiana Pacers, 121-127.  The loss puts the Sixers in a very tough spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.  They now occupy the sixth seed — a game behind Indiana — and now have lost the tiebreaker to the Pacers.  Here are 10 things from the loss.

1) Joel Embiid

Let’s start off with a positive from this game before getting into some of the negatives.  It was not his best defensive game, but Joel Embiid was flat-out unstoppable on the offensive end.  With Domantas Sabonis missing, the Pacers were left with one true center to deal with Embiid.  Two quick fouls on Myles Turner meant Embiid was free to work.  The Process finished with 41 points and 21 rebounds, and made a considerate effort on the offensive boards.  Despite this, however, the Sixers would falter without the big man on the floor.

2) TJ Warren

Now for the most-talked-about part of this game, TJ Warren was simply on fire.  He dropped a career-high 53 points and was absolutely unconscious from the floor.  The NC State product was 20-29 from the field and 9-12 from beyond the arc.  At times, it seemed the Sixers’ defense forgot that Warren was absolutely torturing them.

Sometimes there is nothing else you can do but give credit where it is due.  It is also worth noting that the Phoenix Suns gave up Warren and the 32nd pick in this past year’s draft for cash considerations.  What an awful trade in hindsight.

3) Sixers Turnovers

Before the coronavirus suspended the season, it seemed the Sixers had disposed of their turnover woes from seasons past.  Instead, it decided to rear its ugly head again.  The Sixers ended the game with 21 turnovers, while Indiana only had 10.  Throughout most of the game, it looked like the team had never thrown an entry pass into the post before.  Lazy lobs to Embiid or Horford allowed for an off-ball Indiana defender to come over and interrupt the pass over and over again.  The offense was fine overall tonight, but clean up the turnovers and its a different game.

4) Al Horford

Al Horford, as he has often been, was just atrocious in this one.  While Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris were doing their best to drag the Sixers towards the finish line, Horford was a hole sinking the boat.

I will reiterate this again.  It’s time for Al Horford to leave.

5) Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris was the other Sixer who had a great game.  He finished with 30 points and eight rebounds.  In the third quarter, he carried the Philadelphia offense as the primary creator.  Moving forward, Harris will need to excel as the go-to scorer on the floor while Embiid is resting.  Many other times, Harris was the guy the offense looked to when it stagnated in the half court.  This happens far too often (which is a management-created problem more than anything).

6) Ben Simmons

The one word to describe Simmons’ game tonight: meh.  He did produce, finishing with 19 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, but he could not contain TJ Warren.  There were multiple times where he fell asleep, allowing Warren to drive and get to the rack.  With the game on the line, he inexplicably helped off the guy sitting on 50 points to allow the dagger.

It was an uncharacteristic defensive performance for a likely first-team all-defensive selection.

7) Shake Milton

What a disappointing game for Shake Milton, who was limited to just 19 minutes of action due to early foul trouble  Milton is a deadly long-range shooter, but only attempted one field goal attempt in his limited time.  The most notable moment that happened was his shouting match with Embiid towards the end of the first quarter, where Joel may or may not have said “Imma slap the s*** out you.”

8) Raul Neto

Nobody, not even the man himself, was expecting Raul Neto to play 20 minutes tonight, but he was serviceable.  Neto did a fantastic job steadying the ship for the Sixers in the second quarter after the offense was going through some fits.  Needless to say, he should not be seeing crucial fourth-quarter minutes.  Moving forward, Milton should hold down the point guard spot on this team, but it’s nice to know Neto can provide some stability for a few minutes at a moment’s notice.

9) Josh Richardson

This lesson should have been learned by now, but Josh Richardson should not be assigned lead ballhandler responsibilities on offense.  There is an almost full season of evidence to support this, yet the coaching staff continues to put Richardson in this role.  Milton, Simmons, even Alec Burks is a better primary initiator than Richardson.  This falls squarely on the coaching staff.

10) TJ McConnell

Shoutout to Process legend TJ McConnell!  He was doing TJ McConnell things, hounding ballhandlers after made buckets, poking the ball away after defensive rebounds, and just being gritty.  His defensive pressure was one of the sparks for the Embiid-Milton altercation.  It would have been nice if the front office kept the fan favorite.

With that disappointing and frustrating game over, the Sixers move on to play the hot San Antonio Spurs on tomorrow night.

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About Tim Andrews

Big Basketball Fan. Follow me on Twitter @TimAndrews_13. Contributing for @TLSportsMedia / @SixersLead / @TheBLAnalytics Trust the Process.

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