After Sunday’s brutal 20 point loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers were exhausted. It showed in the way that they shot, and defended. Usually a top 5 defense and top 10 offense, the Sixers let up too many points and scored too few.
Though the presence of Joel Embiid was missed, the team was expected to at least keep it close. Ben Simmons played the best with 20 points and a defensive clinic. He also shot 7/10 from the field. However, the beatdown is not the subject on many fan’s minds, it is the upcoming homestretch that includes many talented teams.
On Wednesday the Heat travel North, the last time they were in Philly they themselves were blown out by a motivated Sixers led by Josh Richardson. Dallas will come into Philadelphia on Friday, the Sixers are yet to play the Mavs, but Luka Doncic is expected to be out for the game. This will increase the probability of a W for Philly. Washington will travel on a good feeling the last time these times played, beating the Sixers 119-113. The Wizards are one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, this will be a chance for the Sixers to get some revenge and show defensive effectiveness.
Finally, after traveling to Detriot on the 23rd, the Sixers will play on Christmas against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers have yet to play the Bucks. Though Giannas has led his team to a whopping 18-game winning streak. The game is on National TV, and rightfully so. It will most likely be a great game.
The last time Miami came into town, Josh went off for 32 points and 6/7 from beyond against his former squad. He will be an important scoring piece against all teams in the home stretch. His offensive capabilities when rolling often carry over to his defensive influence, therefore carrying the Sixers to runs and momentum. He is averaging 14.7 points a game, which is exactly what Philadelphia with all the star-power around him. He is a natural shooter and can clamp on the other, which is why he is one of the best two-way players in the league.
Breakout Game: Miami Heat
Stats: 31 PTS 2 AST 3 REB 3 STL
Norvel is a young player out of the Delaware Bluecoats where he became a defensive anchor. He quite simply a blocking machine. In 14 minutes a night on the Sixers, Pelle is averaging more than 2 blocks. He has really shown out in the games he has played, such as versus the Knicks and Pelicans. In the preseason game against the Pistons, he had back-to-back blocks against former Sixer Christian Wood. He is a very likable player and he is a hard-nosed defender willing to get dunked on to block pivotal shots.
Breakout Game: Dallas Mavericks
Stats: 5 PTS 0 AST 5 REB 5 BLK
Al has been mediocre as of this point of the season, but big games are where Horford shines. Big games such as Christmas last year, where he pulled out all the stops against Embiid. Now teammates with Joel, they form a defense impenetrable inside. There comes a conflict looming. The Sixers will face the best inside player in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last time Giannis and Al Horford faced off in big games were in the 2019 Playoffs where Al seemed to have figured out the Greek Freak’s game. This is great news for the Sixers because if they can limit Giannas’s points, they will limit the Buck’s overall offensive output.
Breakout Game: Milwaukee Bucks
Stats: 14 PTS 4 AST 12 REB 1 STL 3 BLK
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