Takeaways from Sixers-Thunder Scrimmage
The Sixers faced off against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday in their second of three scrimmage games. Although holding a good lead for a majority of this game, the bench was not able to hold off a fourth-quarter surge from the Thunder and OKC would go on to win 102-97. Even though this game resulted in a loss, there were still a lot of positives to take away from this game.
Joel Embiid was a late scratch in this game due to a calf injury. Al Horford would replace Embiid in the starting lineup and would go on to have a great game. He finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, but was most impressive shooting from deep. Horford would step out and knock down four of his five attempts from three, hopefully, this kind of stellar shooting is something we see more often.
Ben Simmons continued to impress at his new point forward position against the Thunder. He would finish an assist shy of a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Simmons did not step out an attempt a three in this game, but he was aggressive in another area. He managed to get to the foul line seven times and knock down four attempts. His confidence continues to grow and it is resulting in strong play from the All-Star.
We also saw strong play from the Sixers' backcourt in this scrimmage. Shake Milton and Josh Richardson played well on both sides of the ball. Milton stepped out and knocked down three shots from deep en route to scoring 11 points, and Richardson scored 10 points of his own and was everywhere on defense picking up four steals.
The Sixers were extremely active on defense in their scrimmage on Friday and brought that same level of energy today. As a team, they gathered 10 steals and forced 16 Thunder turnovers. Their perimeter defense was strong in this one as the Thunder shot just 28.9% from deep as a team. Including a stint where they missed 17 three-point attempts in a row, it’s safe to say the Sixers haven’t lost a step on defense during the break in the season.
Outside shooting from the Sixers continues to impress as well. They finished this game shooting 35.7% as a team, but their percentage was much higher when the core players were on the floor. If they can continue to knock down shots from deep as a good clip it will open up their offense greatly.
Through two scrimmage games, the main takeaways of the Sixers are confidence and defense. The level of defense this team has brought has been great and they have shown they are not going to let teams score easy points on them. Their confidence level from top to bottom has been noticeable as well.
Guys like Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Glenn Robinson III have played well and they look comfortable in their game and their role on the team. If they continue to build on their play heading into the seeding games and playoffs we could see a very dangerous Sixers team.