STAR OF THE WEEK:
Dario Saric is this week’s star. The “Homie” continues to establish himself as one of the league’s most consistent players. The forward’s productive week of action also includes a strong output in the 2018 Rising Stars game.
Saric opened the week with a 24-point performance, defeating the New York Knicks 108 – 92. The 6’10 Croatian went 4-for-6 from three in the win and followed that sharpshooting game with a 19-point yeoman effort in a 104 – 102 win against the Miami Heat. Finishing the week 2 – 0 and averaging 21.5 points while shooting 50-percent from the arc was just the tip of the iceberg for Dario.
The Rising Stars Challenge presented an opportunity for Saric to display his athletic ability, and he did not disappoint. The 76er starter dropped 18-points and retained his hot hand from deep, finishing 4-for-7. The upcoming week will feature a road contest in Chicago versus the Bulls and a home match-up against the Orlando Magic. Dario has been efficient against both opponents in his brief two year career, shooting .507 percent in six games against the Bulls and .525 percent in five games against the Magic.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Philadelphia headed into the All-Star break in the midst of a five game winning streak, while playing some of their best basketball of the year. Despite Philadelphia’s success their statistical production was sporadic. The 76ers finished 4th in rebounding with 48.5 and 7th in assists (26.0) continuing their pattern of consistency in those two facets of the game. Shooting is where their numbers began to jump out of the top ten, finishing 13th in field goal percentage (47.9), 18th in three-point field goal percentage (35.2) and 19th in points per game at 106.0 as well as in made three pointers.
Defensively is where this group flourished. Beginning with the Sixers finishing 1st in opponents points per (97.0), 1st in defensive rating at 96.5, 1st in steals (9.5), 2nd in opponent field goal percentage (42.3), 3rd in opponent fastbreak points (6.5), 5th in opponents points in the paint, and 8th in opponent three-point field goal percentage (33.3). Philly’s defensive effort was spirited all week and the hope is their focus will carryover after the break.
BEN SIMMONS VS. EVERYBODY
Ben Simmons returns as the top rookie for the week. The Philadelphia 76ers first year point forward continues to build his case for Rookie of the Year. Simmons led the 76ers to a 2 – 0 record for the week and fought off the distractions of the upcoming break. For the week Simmons averaged 15.5 points on 60.9 percent shooting, along with 9.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 4.0 steals and 1.5 blocks. The output was highlighted by the 6’10 star’s sixth triple-double of the year, an 18-point, 12-rebound and 10-assist 104 – 102 comeback win against the Miami Heat
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.
A Bad Answer
The season of extremes continued for Philadelphia 76ers’ rookie guard Allen Iverson, after winning back-to-back games Philly returned to its losing ways. Philadelphia kicked off a four game road trip with two loses. Iverson struggled in both contests.
A 98 – 93 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers marked Philly’s 40th loss of the season. The rookie sensation shot 6-for-18 in L.A. and the Sixers would trail throughout. Los Angeles’ 13-point difficulties were nothing compared to the 8-point tragedy that took place the very next night in Phoenix. The Suns held the guard to 3-for-15 shooting in a 111 – 104 drubbing.
Three straight games of sub. .500 shooting could not stop a determined Iverson. The point guard continued to go full throttle even if his effort did not translate to wins.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: