The Sixers tipped off in South Philly against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night. Ben Simmons sat out with back soreness, and Embiid had his first chance to play against Brooklyn as he missed the previous matchups due to injury. Joel stepped up big in Simmons’s absence with 39 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 steals. Alec Berks also found some space as he went for 19 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist. A solid win against a Kyrie-less Nets team.
Joel’s Attitude is back
Joel has finally been playing like Sixers fans are used to and it’s been fun to watch. Even in a game that constantly had the Sixers punching back, he had his best game of the season and silenced the haters. Following the game TNT interviewed Joel and he begrudgingly wished Charles Barkley a happy birthday. Barkley has been quite critical of Joel of late and you can tell he is determined to prove everyone wrong. JoJo just needs to continue to be himself and figure out the best way to play as a leader night in and night out. He set the offensive tempo on a night where the team desperately needed it.
The Sixers bench has been finding ways to contribute much more with the acquisition of Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks. Burks had the hot hand and stepped into the sixth man role all night. He dropped 19 points, another example of this bench squad having success from game to game. Burks, Robinson, Korkmaz, and Thybulle has given this bench the depth it needs, and fans can only hope the contributions continue. Expect coach Brown to ride the hot hand from game to game with those players stepping into similar roles.
Tobias fits better at the 4
One positive of Horford moving to the bench is giving Tobias the chance to thrive at power forward. Harris naturally fits at the 4 with his play on both offense and defense, going to the rim or defending he just looks much more comfortable. Expect coach Brown to start him here for the remainder of the season.
Horford off the bench just works better
Horford had to come off the bench for the second game in a row. Coach Brown has expressed his admiration of Horford and his willingness to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed. With the size of this team spacing just seems to flow more naturally when Horford helps lead the second squad. His shooting can still be a staple of our offense if he can get into a groove in his new role. Expect the team to work him in the lineup as much as possible to get Horford poised for a playoff run. This could be a key factor in the second half as the team has struggled at times without Embiid on the floor.
Josh Richardson’s fit
Josh Richardson had a quiet night but don’t expect him to continue to regress in this second half. He had a great game against the Clippers, and he will look to build off that in the coming primetime matchup against the Bucks. JRich has been a surprising leader all season, despite coming to Philly in this past offseason. Don’t expect Richardson’s intensity to diminish, he will continue to build this offense with Joel and Ben as the second half goes on.