One Way for Sixers to End Ben Simmons’ Drama; Produce Without Him
Impressed with the Sixers opening night win in New Orleans on Wednesday night?
You should be.
Winning on the road is never easy, and with a 6-point lead, and 9:23 left to go, playing without not only Ben Simmons, but also Shake Milton, the team was able to close out the game getting major contributions from players not named Joel Embiid.
Tyrese Maxey and Furkan Korkmaz led the way late in the game to help the Sixers pull away from the Pelicans.
Korkmaz, who only needed 20 minutes off the bench to score 22 points on 4-of-4 from 3-point range, adding five assists and a steal. Maxey, who got the start in place of Simmons, hit 8-of-14 shots, adding two 3-pointers for 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists, turning the ball over just one time.
Free-agent pickup Andre Drummond, came off the Sixers bench and needed just 19 minutes to grab 17 rebounds and block two shots. Another free agent addition, Georges Niang drained three, 3-point shots, good for 11 points.
The result, a 117-97 win over the Pelicans.
Now New Orleans is likely not a Western Conference playoff team, playing without Zion Williamson. Friday night will be a much bigger test at home against the Brooklyn Nets, and likely without Simmons.
The drama will continue to follow the Sixers, until the Simmons situation is resolved, the first question in the Sixers post-game press conference to Doc Rivers was about Simmons.
One way to end that drama is continue to produce without him.
And so far, Embiid, who had a great start to the game, is relishing the opportunity to be the leader of this team, without Simmons around to distract them.
"The main think I have been preaching is just gout there and have fun, sharing the ball, playing with each other. Our attitude has been the same, we practice hard, the same way we played today.
Embiid talked about the team hanging out, going out to dinner, bonding out on the road, truly making this team his in the process (no pun intended).
"It was good to kind of get off to a good start, get a win and forget the off-the-court stuff. That's not our job, our job is to win."
One down, 81 to go, with or without Simmons.