Sixers vs Raptors Grades
Contributors: Steve Jones (@swjones87) and Dan Morgan (@dansaysthat)
With the NBA season back in action, Process Potables will be bringing you a graded recap of the Sixers' players for every game until it's all said and done. Feel free to send us your thoughts to any of the above contributors, or the network in general (@processpotables)!
5 points, 9 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, +6
SJ: D. Embiid only played 14 minutes in the first half. This was likely by design, but reports are he sat out the entire second half due to a right wrist injury. It was announced during the third quarter that his x-rays are negative, but I'll assume he sits out the seeding game finale against the Russell Westbrook-less Rockets on Friday. In his limited time, Embiid did not have a good game by any means, as he only scored 5 points, two of which were from free throws due to technical fouls. Not only did Marc Gasol dominate Embiid defensively on some possessions, but Joel was also his own worst enemy, committing 5 turnovers and appearing unmotivated and slow at times. I just hope Embiid is ready for Boston next week.
DM: A+. Okay, so full disclosure: I missed the game. So you may just want to skip all of my analysis. However, the fact that Embiid is simply available and also wasn't asked to play heavy minutes in a meaningless game are huge wins to me. With the Sixers locked into the third seed and a first round battle with Boston, expect the same from Embiid on Friday against Houston. He needs to play a little to regain his rhythm, but that's all. Rest up big fella.
9 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, +4
SJ: B. Big Guy Al had another good game, as all of his points and assists came in the first half.Horford (along with Tobias Harris) defended Pascal Siakam very well, limiting him to just 15 points in 29 minutes.Al also continues his excellent passing game, as he had a beautiful pass out of a double team at the top of the post to a cutting Tobias Harris. Crossing my fingers that we get the Boston Celtic version of Al Horford when we play the Boston Celtics.
DM: B. All I know is that the most important thing about Horford come the Sixers/Celtics series is that Horford isn't on the Celtics. Will him being on the Sixers help? Probably not. Not being on the Celtics? I do think that helps us still. Great job Elton.
22 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 steals, 2 blocks, +10
SJ: B+. I gotta say – I’m really starting to love and appreciate Tobias playing to his strengths, mainly his mid-range game. Of course, it would be great to see him being more aggressive with going right to the rim and drawing contact. But you know what? He doesn’t care that the league is all about 3-and-Ds or that he always settles for the proverbial worst shot in basketball, the mid-range jumper. He is just doing what he does well, and it’s really helping the team at a time when we’re down one of our two franchise players. Also, I loved how he took advantage of the mismatches that were given to him when defended by the smaller Normal Powell and Terence Davis.
DM: A+. Team Tobias got to puff our collective chest out last night. One night off and he looks like a new man. His stat line above is impressive enough in only 24 minutes, but the real key was he got to the line EIGHT TIMES. Loved his post game presser too where he talked about this being an emphasis for him:
10 points, 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, +8
SJ: C+. Josh Richardson had a very quiet game and didn’t really stand out – but he did seem to have a part in defending the perimeter against a Toronto team that prides itself on shooting from three and scoring on fast breaks. If there was one moment that stuck out, it was when he was over sold contact when fouling Kyle Lowry, and Alaa Abdelnaby stated that Richardson, “…could play in La Liga!” (Sorry, gotta be a soccer fan to get that joke).
DM: B. I called it after the Portland game that Josh was going to set a bar too high that future solid games would be considered bad by casuals. This was far from a great game for Josh, but I think it was clear that most of the Sixers top players were definitely not using their top gear so to speak. I give Josh credit for dealing with the always annoying Kyle Lowry and getting in his head in the second quarter, leading him to a technical. Josh needs to play the role of more of a pest for this team, and this was a nice example of him being capable.
8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, -1
SJ: C. Shake struggled a little bit offensively, going 2 of 9 from the field, with all 8 points coming from two three pointers and 2 free throws. Part of me wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, as his main assignment was Kyle Lowry, who went on to have a big second quarter. Milton struggles, however, when it comes to defending bigger guards. It feels like a situation in baseball with a new, young pitcher – starts out very well for the first few games, but after the film is out on him, vets on opposing teams end up taking his number. Hopefully, my poor baseball analogy is wrong and Shake can turn the corner a bit against Boston.
DM: C-. I need Shake to shoot more and score more. It sounds simple, and it is. Shake is not a pure point guard, he is a shooting guard being asked to play more of a combo guard role. This is a difficult transition, but I think if he just focused a bit more on getting his own, it would get him in rhythm and build his confidence to do the rest. Also, the more of a threat you are, the more gravity you command, and it makes it easier to facilitate as other guys will become open as a result. This was a great example of Shake being willing to just pull the trigger immediately:
10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 0 blocks, -13
SJ: C. Another mixed bag of a game for Matisee. He is showing signs of slowly improving his outside shooting, but other than wide-open threes, but still appears very limited with his movement in half-court sets With four seconds left in the game, the Sixers had a chance to win it, but Thybulle threw the inbounds pass behind Raul Neto, resulting in a turnover and the loss. Hopefully this is a lesson learned, and fortunately it didn't occur in a meaningful game.
DM: B. From what I actually saw, it didn't seem like the greatest 'Tisse game, but the efficency was there for the first time in what feels like forever, going 4/7 from the field and 2/4 from three. Add in the steals as is expected from Matisse and this feels like honestly one of his better games in a while. I think he's going to play a large role against Boston, so if he can just maintain an average field goal percentage and play some good man defense, he'll be just fine.
21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, -5
SJ: A. The Kork was definitely popped tonight, which included going 5 of 9 from three and 6 for 6 from the line. His productivity was encouraging given that Alec Burks sat out the game. It also appears we can depend on Korkmaz drawing at least one foul a game while attempting a three – and he did that twice tonight. Such a skill would be very welcome in the post-season, and even more valuable if he can manage to shoot more than 75% from the foul line.
DM: A+. Pop the Kork baby. The numbers say it all. 5/9 from three, some play-making, and even some DEFENSE!? Sign me up. However, this quote from Brett Brown after the game even scares me, the #1 Korkmaz guy:
12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, -11
SJ: B+. I won’t torture you with any bee and hive puns tonight, but I'm happy to report another satisfying game from Mike Scott. On prior pods, we did not have much faith in seeing Mike Scott, outside of garbage time, due to his poor form for the majority of the season. However, he had another strong performance – and when I mean strong, I mean strong (Editor's Note: STRONG). He continues to be physical and aggressive on the defensive end and on box outs. He may not be the most skilled player on the team, but his toughness and tenacity is what BreTt will rely on (as well as his ability to shoot the three).
DM: B. Very happy for Mike Scott cementing a playoff role. We doubted it, but he has looked great as of late and Brett tends to favor vets anyway. Scott will definitely be a top bench option against Boston in round one.
4 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, -7
SJ: D. Pelle’s stock has been falling since the restart. I’ve also noticed that he appears to completely miss or botch an alley-oop from Shake Milton every other game – which is concerning when you’re designated as the team’s rim runner. Largely due to his skinny frame, he has always been a poor rebounder for a big man – but it’s discouraging when you’re not seeing your big properly box out. For example, in the third quarter, Norman Powell easily stole a rebound from Pelle, who has at least six inches on Powell. When he attempts to overcompensate by being too aggressive, he gets into foul trouble quickly (he fouled out with ONE second left in the game). Norvel – please put on 20 pounds of muscle and attend my big man camp in the off-season. (Editor's Note: Please sponsor us Monster Energy)
DM: D. Just as my bullying of Neto and KOQ seemed to work, my tender nurturing of Pelle has failed. It appears the bullying must commence. I will do what I must... (like i said, i didn't watch so i have no real commentary here. Steve did great though!)
17 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, -4
SJ: B. Please don’t let a second consecutive good offensive performance fool you. Neto got a lot of playing time largely due to Alec Burks being out of the lineup. Again, Neto showed his ability to score and pass the ball creatively, but my god he is awful on defense. Any meaningful Raul Neto playoff minutes will not be a good sign at all.
DM: B. I mostly agree with Steve here, but Neto is following Mike Scott in the "i'm a vet who's sort of heating up just in time to make you play me" and with Shake Milton not really making the most of the opportunity presented to him, there may end up being some Playoff Neto after all. I was not hoping this is where we'd be, but Neto's recent play does give me some confidence he could possibly provide ten minutes or so of "just enough" quality to get by in the playoffs. Who am i?
3 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, -7
SJ: C. Tonight’s game was just Shayok’s third appearance of the season and his first appearance in the bubble. His block against Matt Thomas attempting at a three followed by an easy layup at the other end was nice to see. He then struggled on defense and running the half court offense at times. I really hope his experience and training with the team in the bubble pays dividends down the road next season. There are no expectations whatsoever for Shayok to play in the playoffs, so Friday is likely the end of the season for Shayok.
DM: A+. Love me some Shayok. I just want to see him play. That said, everything we've heard from his Delaware Blue Coats coach Connor Johnson is even more apparent at the NBA level: isn't terribly quick, takes too long and too many dribbles to get his shot, needs to improve as a defender. Shayok has a great looking shot and has dominated his G-League opposition, but I still think he is going to at the very least start the season as a two-way player, as he still has plenty to work on as a Blue Coat.