After being down as much as 16 to the Detroit Pistons in their first-ever In-Season Tournament game, the Sixers were able to rally behind the play of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, to secure a victory, and moved to 1-0 in the group stage of the In-Season Tournament.
They combined for 62 of the team’s 114 and came up, clutch in the fourth quarter to secure a victory. Something we haven’t seen that much from the Sixers this year is starting slow but the first quarter and a half looked like a shell of how the Sixers have been playing through the first 8 games of the season. Coach Nick Nurse was able to make adjustments within the second quarter which led to an important 11-0 run to cut the deficit from 15 to 4 before halftime.
The 2023 Sixers have found many different ways to win games this season, and it sure looks to be an entertaining season, to say the least.
Here are three important things I’ve noticed in the Sixer’s first eight games.
As Joel Embiid said, “They have no egos on this team” and it is showing. The distribution of the basketball and the active plays on both offense and defense have made the Sixer team, less lethargic and able to run many different sets on both sides of the ball to ensure success. Nick Nurse has them in the right vibe as a team as they continue to build chemistry throughout the season and beyond.
I mentioned above that James Harden provided a selfish attitude and a quitter mentality to this team, and it is showing for his new club, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are 0-3 since trading for James Harden and have looked stagnant on offense. The spacing that Harden and PJ Tucker limit is evident as the Sixers are soaring with their offensive play, while the Clippers are struggling to keep the same pace of points that they have seen from their stars before.
Closing out the game
One of the only critiques I have for the Sixers is their lack of urgency and increase of mistakes when we have a big lead at the end of the fourth quarter. Against Boston, we were up 15 with 4:30 to go and only won by three. Same story different team last night. The Pistons were down 15 themselves with 2:40 to go only to see the lead be diminished to six with little time remaining. We ended up winning by 8, and in the In-Season Tournament, every point matters! I know it’s early in the season but if the Sixers want to be considered highly contending for the NBA championship, then they will need to fix this issue especially when they have to play tougher teams who will take advantage of their lackadaisical play late in the fourth quarter.
The Sixers’ next game is on Sunday at home at 6 pm against the Indiana Pacers where they look to increase their win streak to 8 games. Their next In-Season Tournament game is also against the Indiana Pacers next Tuesday at 7 pm EST.