Game one of the Maxey 6th man experiment was very interesting. Some things I liked, and some things I didn't like. Look down below for more on Maxey.
Another Sixers game that came down to the wire. 2 in less than 24 hours. I was very impressed with the energy they had on the second game of a back to back. Especially in the fourth quarter. You will typically see teams lack of energy in back to backs but that isn't the case for the Sixers tonight. They had the energy and grit all the way down the stretch. It took a clutch Joel Embiid bucket and a game winning Georges Niang block (yes you read that right, a game winning block). On a back to back, Sixers take it 113-112.
• The Jame Harden and Joel Embiid pick and roll continues to be unstoppable. No team in the league has a defensive scheme to slow that down.
• Lebron James was destroying everything in his way in the first. Midrange jumpers, blow by layups, everything. He ended the first quarter with 16 points.
• Doc Rivers rotations continue to be interesting as he decides to end the quarter with a questionable lineup of Maxey/Milton/Thybulle/Niang/Harrell. If you were wondering if that lineup worked out well, it didn't.
• This seems to be a Montrezl Harrell disaster game. He can't get it going on the offensive end with sloppy looks at the rim, and poor defense being shown.
• With Tyrese Maxey's new role, the first half was a big struggle. He had 9 points on 4-9 shooting in the first half. It seemed to be his worst shot selection of his career which included a three pointer shot from the logo. I have many questions on why he thought that was the best shot for that possession.
• Sixers down 58-57 at the end of the first half. The Sixers had a 10+ point lead at one point in the second quarter but as you may know, then Sixers don't hold onto leads well.
• Wow, Tobias Harris had himself a quarter. Getting what he wanted at the rim and making difficult shot clock ending shots.
• Don't you love when Joel Embiid dunks all over someone? I do! Embiid had the dunk of the night in the NBA. A hard slam down on Wenyen Gabriel. He had himself a great quarter. He was racking up assists and points as he was keeping the Sixers in this game.
• One thing I noted was that the Sixers were trying to guard Russell Westbrook like he can shoot which is one of the most odd things of the night. Tyrese Maxey fouled him on a DEEP three pointer. What are we doing here guys?
• Don't you love when we complain about Doc Rivers rotations every night? Well, hear me out on this one. Rivers decided to open up the quarter against Lebron James with a lineup of Maxey/Milton/Tucker/Niang/Harrell. It wasn't just on the court for a minute, it was on the court for multiple minutes which is nothing less then embarrassing.
• What a second half it was for Tobias Harris. Hitting multiple mid range shots to get the Sixers out of a rut.
• The fourth quarter was owned by James Harden,. His skill to do whatever he wants came to use for most possessions in the fourth. He hit some tough, big shots down the stretch.
• Lakers were hitting some tough shots down the stretch with contested mid ranges by Lebron James and Russell Westbrook.
• The Philadelphia 76ers have a backup center problem, once again. Should they make a move at the deadline to cover that hole? We thought that Montrezl Harrell could step in and hold leads and bring energy, but it seems to be the opposite sometimes. He plays lousy defense, he can barely get going on offense. He constantly makes poor decisions under the basket. This can be turn into a disaster in the playoffs if the front office can't make it right.
• There were too many times where the Sixers struggled against the Lakers zone defense. It looked like a lot of not knowing to do with the ball and eventually dumping it off to Embiid to figure it all out
• Matisse Thybulle and his ridiculous fouls.
• The Tyrese Maxey bench experiment was...weird? I don't believe Doc Rivers has the rotations right with Maxey. He is not a very good shot creator so it doesn't make sense when Rivers has him playing point guard and asks him to carry the offense for the Sixers. Embiid or Harden should be on the court with him at all times.
• The Sixers need to do something about PJ Tucker. It's clear he isn't being used correctly on the offensive end, and being placed in the dunkers spot for more than half of the possessions. He defense isn't so good that it can make up for his offense. It's like the problem we have with Matisse Thybulle.
• Man...I love James Harden. He was getting everything tonight. Mid range shots, three pointers, layups. Everything. What would we do without him? To have this much in the tank in the fourth quarter of the second game of a back to back is the most notable and impressive thing tonight.
• Joel Embiid was nothing short of dominant tonight. The pick and roll with Harden. Getting the Sixers out of any scoring drought. Doing a wonderful job of playmaking, and a great night of defense. Embiid is nothing but clutch as he showed that, hitting another go ahead bucket to win the game in back to back nights.