Contributors: Dan Morgan (@dansaysthat) and Steve Jones (@swjones87)
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)!
16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 blocks, +3, AND A GAME WINNER:
DM: A+. In the same manner I gave Shake a light boost Saturday due to the expectations set for him, he gets a boost here because he bounced back and then some, hitting an absolute dagger to save the Sixers from a devastating 0-2 start against teams they should have had no issues with. This was probably the best case for what you can get out of Shake in a playoff game: scoring in the mid-teens, efficient shooting, and low turnovers. If you get close to that on average, you’ll feel great about Shake in these playoffs and as an important piece for the future of the Sixers. Go ahead Shake, talk that ish:
SJ: A+. Shake’s stats aren’t sexy, but come on, he hit the go-ahead 3 with 6.1 seconds remaining. His strong performance indicates that Saturday’s performance is likely a one-off. He was a far better ball handler and only had one turnover. This strong performance was not only essential for his own sake, but necessary given that Ben Simmons was out for long stretches due to foul trouble AND we saw less of Raul Neto. As happy as I am about his game winning three, I’m still trying to think of how Milton fouled Keldon Johnson while getting elbowed in the face. He was seen spitting up a lot of blood, but remained in the game (is he the new construction
hat/lunch pail guy?).
19 points, 1 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 blocks, -1
DM: B. Same as Shake, the focus was on he and Josh to bounce back and they did. Giving Josh a B because while he lit up the stat sheet, we still didn’t see the playmaking or defense we expected from him, which has been the story all year so far. 33% from the field is not going to be good enough unless Josh is going to become the on-ball defender we heard he was prior to his arrival in Philadelphia.
SJ: B. A big rebound game for Josh Richardson after a very poor performance against the Pacers. Richardson started off the game with 2 threes in the first quarter. As we’ve seen before, Richardson needs his looks early in order to be in rhythm for the whole game.
25 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 blocks, +7
DM: A. Tobias is doing all you could ask of him at this point, yet Sixers fans continue to undervalue him. Very hopeful these playoffs, regardless of the outcome, will wake at least a small portion of the fanbase up to how much Tobias brings to the team.
SJ: A. Another solid outing to silence the Tobias Harris haters. In addition to going 3 of 5 from three, Tobias was more active driving to the basket compared to the previous game. Though he only had 4 assists, he was far more involved in the offense with his facilitation both inside and outside the perimeter. Hey, at least someone remembered this was a “home” game!
8 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 blocks, -3
DM: D. There were at least two questionable fouls leading to Ben having the rare foul-out. I don’t want to punish Ben for that specifically, but there is something to be learned here for Ben that once you get into trouble, you need to be smart, savvy, and disciplined as you are far more valuable to your team on the floor than not. Fouls aside, we are still not seeing the defense we have come to expect from Ben and it’s starting to become a concern.
SJ: C. Ben Simmons with a very lackluster performance due to being in foul trouble throughout the entire game. Ben picked up his 4th foul just 17 seconds into the 3rd quarter (a la Shake Milton against the Pacers) and eventually fouled out in the 4th quarter. Simmons could not press as much on defense as he normally does, and had a very pedestrian 8 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes of action. It just seemed like when Ben made a play and was about to get going, he then picked-up another foul. Interestingly enough, he is 20th in the league with total fouls (184), but this was only the second time he fouled out this year. (If you look at the list of league leaders in fouls, you’ll notice a lot of great defensive players, but please don’t think James Harden at #4 is one of them!)
27 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 blocks, -3
DM: B. I wanted to give Joel an A here. If you just looked at his stats you probably would, but the concern, as usual, was late game turnovers almost costing the Sixers this game. Shake Milton bailed him out this time, but you can’t count on that consistently in the playoffs. Joel has talked about needing to be the guy to carry this team, the guy to get the ball, etc. and when given the chance last night, he struggled in the same manor we’re used to. He has the skillset and ability to be better in those situations, he just needs to execute. The positive here? Embiid had a very efficient post game. Shout to to Brock Landes (@landesbrock) for the stats:
SJ: A. Joel Embiid again was the high man on the team in points scored. Didn’t even take him a full two minutes to get Jakob Poeltl into early foul trouble, which resulted in going 9 of 12 from the charity stripe. Would’ve like to have seen Embiid get more touches in the post against the likes of Drew Eubanks (who?) and Tyler Zeller, who was playing only his second game of the year.
9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, +17
DM: B. As much as I didn’t think Horford’s team worst -26 against Indiana was an accurate indicator of his performance, I don’t think his team high +17 in this one is either, but it does align with the fact he played some of the best defense we’ve seen from him since the beginning of the season. It looks like Horford is getting a bit more comfortable in his role off the bench, which should result in better overall play. He also needs credit for being a large reason why Shake was able to get the open look to win it with his fake to Embiid first (credit to Josh Schrager - @Schragz):
SJ: A. Again, with one of the themes being Ben Simmon’s foul troubles, Horford was often the one off the bench for Ben. Horford was excellent facilitating out of the post and made sure the Spurs could not score inside the paint. Horford also finished with a team high rating of a +17. Even when Horford was playing along side Embiid, it did not appear to effect the team in any negative way.
12 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, +4
DM: B+. When the shot doesn’t fall, Korkmaz is always going to be an F. When it is, you’re getting exactly what you need from him. Add in zero turnovers and a few rebounds and it’s really the best case scenario for Furk (other than a 30+ point heat check game, just give us one more!)
SJ: B. Furkan was another Sixer with a much needed bounce back performance, going 3 of 6 from three.
He clearly understands his role and was able to get into the rhythm and flow of the offense. As long as he keeps defenders guessing on his pump fake and knocking down shots, Furkan should be a regular off the bench come playoff time.
8 points, 1 rebounds, 1 assists, 0 blocks, -1
DM: C+. Neto was very Jekyll and Hyde in this one, with a poor backcourt turnover and some minutes where he was non-existent, but then had two back to back full court sprints, one where he drew a foul and one where he made the layup. The lazy backcourt turnover is what he is being given minutes to help the Sixers avoid, while the times he beat it are the argument for him receiving playing time. He will likely get more opportunities to show which one he really is.
SJ: D. Neto did what he does best – standing there looking pretty. Thank god he didn’t play nearly as much as he did against Indiana. He did score 8 points, including going 4 for 4 from the line, but 2 turnovers and 3 fouls in 11 minutes of game time arguably negates his offensive output.
5 points, 1 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 blocks, -10
DM: D. Matisse continues to struggle in regaining his defensive instincts since returning to play. It’s fair for a rookie to need time to regain his swagger, but if he wants to continue to see minutes he’s going to have to figure it out soon, as at this point I think he is much more likely to lose minutes to Glenn Robinson III than anyone else.
SJ: C. Thybulle continues to underwhelm coming off the bench. Not a bad game, but also not very impressive in his 19 minutes of playtime. Makes you think that if and when Glenn Robinson III comes back into the line-up, they will be competing against one another in the silent tournament for playoff minutes.
3 points, 1 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, -3
DM: B. The only real fault to Burks in this one, which was my same thought from the Indiana game, is he didn’t receive enough minutes. It is unclear why Burks can’t get more time in the game, but it’s hard to get much of a read on him without more evidence. To this point, he’s looked to be the most efficient scorer and shooter the Sixers have, even with minimal opportunity. The only thought here is it hasn’t been scoring points the Sixers have had issue with, it’s the defensive end, which is not Burks claim to fame.
SJ: C. Burks was a minimal contributor during his 10 minutes off the bench. Fans are clamoring for more Burks time, but perhaps Bret is keeping his cards close to his chest? Bret does prefer veterans come playoff time, but if Burks is able to standout in his limited minutes, perhaps his role increases.