Both teams are far from their finished products.
One adjective to describe this game, sloppy. There were turnovers, missed shots, and miscommunication. Both teams lacked shot creation. Tuesday night’s slate of games set the bar too high. The front end of the Nationally televised games was a disappointment. Both teams shot below 27% from behind the arc. It’s early, that can be attributed to early-season jitters. Despite the shortcomings, this game revealed a couple of things.
Ben Simmons can be a dark-horse for league MVP honors.
We were all waiting to see a jumper from Simmons tonight. He concluded the game without taking a shot from outside the restricted area. Same old Ben Simmons. Right? Nope, wrong. The 2018-2019 all star said he “fell in love with the game again” this summer, as reported by theslamonline.com. He was driving downhill all game, and was just dominant. 2 rebounds and an assist shy of a triple-double, the Sixers point guard had his fingertips all over this one. He ended the game with 24 points and was the best player on the floor all night long.
Gordon Hayward looked comfortable for the first time as a Boston Celtic.
The 29 year old former all-star had himself a night. He scored 25 points to lead all players. The Celts lost, but they can be content with their $127 million forward looking like himself again. I was ecstatic for Hayward! Two years removed from that gruesome injury, look for the forward to have a breakout season. I don’t think he’ll be this productive all season long but Boston will need him to be a consistent scorer if they want to challenge in the east.
Philly is a lengthy, defensive juggernaut.
The Sixers boasted a starting lineup of Ben Simmons at 6’10, Josh Richardson at 6’6, Tobias Harris at 6’9, Al Horford at 6’10, and Joel Embiid standing at 7 feet tall. That lineup is a nightmare for opposing offenses to deal with. All of those players are lockdown defenders, with the exception of Tobias Harris. The best way I could describe their defense is versatile. The switchability is very intriguing with Simmons, Horford, and Embiid being able to guard 1 through 5. There is a lack of shooting and shot creation on this team. That is what concerns me going forward with Philadelphia.
Boston lost Kyrie Irving, who dropped 50 in his Net debut, and Al Horford who joined the division rival Sixers. Those are two big losses that will be felt. Hopefully the additions of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter can provide enough offence for the defensive hole left by the departure of savvy veteran Al Horford.
The Sixers lost their closer in Jimmy Butler, as well as 3-point specialist JJ Redick. Late in games last year, the ball was always in Jimmy Butler’s hands. He was able to make plays, either for himself or for others. Who’s going to be that guy this year? Tobias Harris? I don’t particularly trust a fringe all-star in crunch time to lead a team with championship aspirations. Another huge loss for them was that of JJ Redick. They upgraded defensively when he left for The Big Easy, but they lost their best perimeter threat. Who’s going to stretch opposing defenses for Philadelphia this season?
Photo credit: nbcsports.com
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