STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week’s star goes to Ben Simmons! When center Joel Embiid went down with an orbital fracture it became imperative that the former first overall pick elevate his game. The rookie responded by reaching unprecedented heights. In the four games without Embiid, Simmons notched one triple-double and three double-doubles. The point-forward averaged 19.5 points on 66.7 percent shooting, to go along with 10.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists.
Simmons’ best performance came in a pivotal Friday night contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the first time in an ion, the Sixers were involved in a game that had postseason implications. Playing for the third seed in the Eastern Conference and playing against the game’s best in LeBron James, the league’s newest star dropped showed out. When the final buzzer sounded “The Ben-a-Factor” finished with a triple-double (27-points, 15-rebounds and 13-assists) and Philly walked away with a 132 – 130 victory. The win marked Philadelphia’s 13th straight and guaranteed they could not finish any worse than fourth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
Simmons’ play has been outstanding and the 76ers have yet another undefeated week to show for it. With only three games remaining before the playoffs the point-forward will be entrusted with keeping his troops focused on finishing the season strong.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Keep Rolling……………Part Duex
The Sixers feasted mightily on a four game stretch that featured one winning team, in the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the group took care of business in the most emphatic of ways. Things did not change when the Cavaliers rolled into town, as Philly finished with their highest point total of the seven day period (132). Ending the week 4 – 0 is always an impressive feat, but how this group did it was mind blowing. Confidence levels remain sky high as the Sixers finished first in points per game and made field goals for the second week in a row. In all the squad finished the week rated 1st in points per with 121.8, 1st in made field goals (48.0), 1st in rebounds per with 54.7, 1st in assists (32.8), 2nd in field goal percentage at 51.2 percent, 3rd in offensive efficiency (115.7), and 8th in points in the paint (46.9). Long distance shooting also remains a staple even without the big guy as Philly finished 7th in made three-pointers (12.5) and 6th in three-point percentage at 41.0. Once again, it was a dominant seven days and it will be interesting to see if things carry over into the postseason.
On the other end of the court Philly was adequate, but certainly not as dominant. There was bound to be some let up with such focus being displayed on the offensive end. The numbers for the week were 2nd in steals (11.5), 2nd in opponents points in the paint (36.5), 3rd in opponent rebounds (39.5), 5th in opponent turnovers (16.5), tied for 5th in opponent made field goals (37.8), 5th in opponent three-point percentage (28.4 percent), 7th in defensive efficiency (102.4), 7th in blocks (6.3) and 8th in opponents field goal percentage (44.7). Those are not bad numbers by any stretch, in fact considering Philly is missing their defensive stalwart those numbers are quite solid.
When a team wins 13-straight it is usually a group effort, and the Sixers current streak is no different. Yet, the play of first year stud Ben Simmons is worthy of adulation. During the current winning streak Simmons has averaged 14.8 points 10.8 assists and 10.1 rebounds.
BEN SIMMONS VS. EVERYBODY
Ben Simmons returns to the head of the class as this week’s top rookie! Simmons led the Sixers to a 4 – 0 record, while posting yet another triple-double. In a much hyped game against the playoff bound Cleveland Cavaliers, the future of the franchise scored 27-points, snatched 15-rebounds and dished out 13-assists. The Sixers won 132 – 130 and the T.D. was the point-forward’s 12th of the year. Philadelphia was thrusted into life without Joel Embiid but quickly learned just how special Simmons is. For the week the rookie of the year hopeful averaged 19.5 points on an insane 66.7 percent shooting, with 10.3 boards, 10.3 assists and 2.3 steals.
Here are some of the other top rookie performers for the week:
ANSWERING THE CALL – A.I.’s ROOKIE YEAR
It has been exactly 20 seasons since Hall-of-Fame guard Allen Iverson first blessed the NBA hardwood and ignited the city of Philadelphia. From the moment the Virginia native donned a Philadelphia 76ers uniform fans everywhere had a feeling Iverson was special and their basketball prayers were finally answered.
The organization struggled mightily through five consecutive losing seasons before selecting the six foot powerhouse out of Georgetown, first overall. It appears the franchise has found another transcendent player, in first year “guard” Ben Simmons. Oddly enough this year’s prized rookie guard hits the court after yet another five consecutive losing seasons.
As spectators enjoy the greatness and infancy stages of Simmons’ career, it is hard to forget the last time Philly had something (or someone) this special to root for. Therefore, while we partake in the now it is impossible to not reminisce the before.
Going for 40 while going 0 – 4
With another losing season imminent there was little reason to watch the 76ers, or so many fans believed. Yet, despite the unfathomable losing star rookie Allen Iverson was out to prove in the final slate of games he was far from a loser. Georgetown’s most infamous alumni would go on to score 40 or more points in the next four games.
Beginning with a 116 – 101 loss to the visiting Atlanta Hawks, Iverson dropped 40-points on 12-for-29 shooting. Fellow rookie Ray Allen and the Milwaukee Bucks were next to witness the birth of A.I.. The Sixers’ guard netted 27-points in the fourth quarter alone on his way to a 44-point explosion, unfortunately Philly lost its sixth straight 126 – 118. Nevertheless, the scoring outburst marked three straight games of 40 or more for the future star. Two of those contests came against playoff bound opponents in the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.
After shooting 16-for-28 against the Bucks, the Cleveland Cavaliers seemed intent on stopping Iverson. Cleveland took a 66 – 49 lead into halftime, but behind 39 second half points from Iverson the Cavs held on for a 125 – 118 win. The Rookie of the Year tallied 50-points in all and became the first rookie ever to score 40 or more points in four straight games. The points and losses continued to mount for Allen and the Sixers. However, no one could deny that this rookie was a once and a lifetime talent.
“I scored 37 the hard way. The last one they gave it to me.” Iverson noted after scoring 40-points for the fifth straight game. Washington defeated Philadelphia 131 – 110, and the Bullets game served as the last of the 40-point explosions.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: