The Philadelphia 76ers will seek their third straight victory when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
The Sixers won for the fourth time in five games in a resounding fashion Thursday, beating host Orlando Magic 116-92.
Joel Embed had 21 points and nine rebounds, Seth Curry had 21 points and Tobias Harris added 20 points and nine rebounds. Since the game was so out of reach, the Sixers starters rested for most of the second half.
Philadelphia seems to be picking up on new head coach Doc Rivers’ pacing system very quickly.
The pace begins with Ben Simmons, who has often been criticized for his unwillingness to shoot from the perimeter. However, Simmons threw a rare 3-pointer against the Magic and the bench exploded. It was the first long-distance solo attempt of the season.
” I couldn’t care less,” Rivers said of whether Simmons takes outside shots. ” I’ll let you guys talk about what Ben doesn’t do. I just want Ben to keep playing great defense, leading our team and winning games.”
In addition to the headlines producing against the Magic, the Sixers also received a huge boost from their bench, highlighted by Shake Milton (14 points), Tyrese Maxey (10) and Matisse Thule (nine). Thule was unable to score in each of the first four games, but took advantage of the extra playing time with Furkan Korkmaz offside due to an adductor injury.
” It’s going to be a key factor, we’ve told him that from the beginning,” Rivers said of Thule. “Matisse is going to be a key player for this basketball team. Defensively in the second half he was phenomenal.”
The new Hornets, who had steadily improved, were beaten 108-93 by the visiting Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.
The Hornets placed five players in double figures, but the game was decided relatively early.
Bismarck Bimbo led Charlotte with 16 points. Rookie LaMelo Ball added 15, Caleb Martin and Gordon Hayward each had 14, and PJ Washington scored 10.
Charlotte struggled with her long-range shots, going 9-for-31 (29 percent) from beyond the arc.
Despite the loss, head coach James Borrego is satisfied with the team’s progress.
” For us it’s just about building and growing,” Borrego said. “We didn’t have the best training camp. There are a lot of factors there, but I think now we’ve found our balance.”
That especially applies to Ball, the Hornets’ third overall pick in the 2020 draft. Ball also contributed six assists, three rebounds and two steals while still proving why the franchise selected him.
” He’s growing before our eyes,” teammate Miles Bridges said of Ball. “As long as he’s playing his game and having fun, we just want to focus on the defensive end.”
Ball has been a spark off the bench, but after the loss to the Grizzlies, Borrego was asked about his rookie move to the starting lineup.
” That is an area where I have to keep analyzing and analyzing it carefully,” he said. ” That is not the only one, but I will continue to look at that area.”
–Field level media
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.