Sunday night, the 76ers handled their business on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder by a final score of 115-103.
Seth Curry was on fire in the first frame, converting on 6 of his 7 threes for 23 points. He finished with "only" 28. Joel Embiid chipped in 22 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks.
The Thunder's pair of young playmaking guards led the way for their offense tonight. Fresh off a lucrative five year extension handed to him this offseason, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gave the team 29 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Josh Giddey, the 6th overall pick in this summer's draft, offered 19 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals in the losing effort.
On a night where Joel Embiid was questionable before the game and Andre Drummond was ruled out, we figured maybe Doc Rivers would need to lean on Paul Reed to fill in that gap, but he also utilized Georges Niang as a small ball stretch 5, which I thought was a role he shined in. It will certainly be a matchup thing, but it is something I believe can be very beneficial to this offense, especially if Ben Simmons ever decides to return to the team.
Doc Rivers needs to do a better job with how the players around Embiid organize themselves when he catches the ball in the post. With no Simmons, there is no excuse to not be playing 4 out with shooters lining the three point line. As soon as the ball is caught, the corner man (I noted Tyrese Maxey, Niang and Danny Green) scoot themselves down into the dunker spot, which condenses the defense. Those guys offer the team very little to nothing in that area of the floor.
The team still badly needs a ball handler after Maxey, and although Furkan Korkmaz has made admirable strides in this department, it is completely unfair to expect him to hold down the fort as a de facto point guard for any significant amount of time.
A lot of things to work on, but a win is a win. This early in the season, there is a lot to learn from.
The Sixers next game will be this upcoming Tuesday at Madison Square Garden for a date with the Knicks.