STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week’s star goes to Dario Saric. The 76ers’ big man was the catalyst to a 2 – 1 week. Precision and efficiency best describes Saric’s week as he shot 57.6 percent from the field, a blistering 69.2 percent from three and 91.7 percent from the foul line. Philadelphia benefited from “the Homie’s” 19.3 points and 9.3 rebounds during their three game stretch.
Saric tallied a double-double in back-to-back contests, including a 22-point and 10-rebound effort in a 105 – 101 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Things picked up for the forward in a 21-point, 10-rebound win at home against the Chicago Bulls. The second year Croatian went an impressive 4-for-5 from three in the Bulls victory.
Philly has a tough week ahead, as they play five games in the next seven days. Four of those contests are on the road where the Sixers are currently 12 – 11. A strong performance from the EuroLeague star is a must if Philadelphia is to compete in those games.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
A Week of Growth (Hopefully)
Offensively it was an efficient and productive week for the 24 – 21 76ers. The club shot 48.5 percent which was good enough for 8th in the league. Three-point shooting was prominent during the week as Philly ranked 2nd in three-point field percentage at 46.4 percent and 8th with 13.0 made threes per. Not to be outdone was the Sixers work on the glass. The team finished 3rd in rebounds per outing at 48.7 and 7th in assists with 25.0. Turnovers remain an issue, Philadelphia ranks as 5th worst at 16.3 per, and will certainly be something good teams will expose.
Defensively few squads had a better week than Philadelphia. The 76ers finished 1st in opponent made field goals (33.0), 1st in opponent field goal percentage (40.1), 2nd in opponent three-point percentage (27.6), 4th in opponents points in the paint (38.7 per), 4th in opponents points per (94.7), 5th in opponent made threes (8.0), 5th in defensive rating (99.0). Regardless, of the opponent or whom the opposing team may have been missing those are impressive numbers for the club.
Solid game stats continue to be the red herring from the team’s inability to close out games. This week’s blown fourth quarter lead came courtesy of the Memphis Grizzlies. Entering the fourth quarter Philly led 83 – 74 and looked to be in control. Only to lose 105 – 101. The group had some short term success in closing games out this week, despite dropping to 24th in defensive rating (117.3) in the fourth quarters. The ongoing scoring problems continue in the final quarter as Philadelphia is ranked 27th in fourth quarter points (21.3) and 27th in made field goals (7.7).
BEN SIMMONS VS. EVERYBODY
Kyle Kuzma has gone from bottom first round pick to top rookie in the span of 40+ games. The week’s top first year performer has played at a top level despite the Lakers recent struggles. Kuzma’s best outing came in a surprising 108 – 107 win against the Boston Celtics. “The Kuz” tallied 28-points going 10-for-16 from the field, in just 26 minutes. The rookie finished the week with 17.3 points on 55.6 percent shooting.
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. So while we partake in the now, it is impossible to not reminisce the before.
A Winning Week
For what felt like an ion Philadelphia finally finished the week with a winning record, going 2 – 1. There was little correlation between Philly’s winning week and the efficiency of their prized franchise altering rookie………………that’s sarcasm by the way. Iverson shot 49 percent for the week, including two performances where he shot over 50 percent.
A 101 – 99 76ers’ win against the Toronto Raptors was the guard’s best scoring output of the week, as he finished with 31-points in the victory. Penny Hardaway and the Orlando Magic also witnessed a more proficient Iverson. The 76ers’ guard shot 10-for-19 in a 26-point 109 – 99 loss. The second win of the week, a 109 – 100 W against the Toronto Raptors, showcased A.I.’s playmaking ability. The number one overall pick dished out 14-assists in 44 minutes of action, in the Raptors conquering.
Tweet of the Week: