Sixers Shell Celtics: Too Bad It’s Preseason…
I don’t care if it was preseason, they’re back! Back from summer break, back on television, and back from their oddly spiteful exhibition game against the former New Jersey Nets in Atlantic City. Last night the Philadelphia 76ers made their triumphant return to our living rooms in a 107-75 drubbing of the Boston Celtics.
The win felt good, as did the wide margin by which the 7-6 accomplished it, even in preseason. Being as insane about hoops as I am, just having basketball around to burn two hours was wonderful. That said, not a whole lot to dissect here, again, because it’s preseason. Nonetheless here are some first (for those of us at home) impressions of 11/12ths of the 2012 76ers after the break:
- The elephant in the room: Andrew Bynum did not play. In fact, after cutting to him several times on the bench wearing street clothes, it was reported that he’d left the bench area for some type of medical treatment… ::foreboding::
- KG didn’t play either, so I guess that makes things fair right?
- Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday looked particularly good on the starter’s side. Hawes led the team in scoring and rebounding (17 and 8, respectively). While Jrue put up more modest numbers but played aggressive, went to the hoop, posted up some, and spotted teammates for six assists in only 27 minutes of burn.
- Holiday still doesn’t seem able to get calls at the rim. Plenty of analysts and stat heads claim his lack of foul shots is holding his offense back. I say, talk to some of the refs about that honestly. I don’t want to be “that guy” but they have to get him off the rookie-call frequency eventually right? He seems to go consistently strong to the hoop and absorbs contact admirably but still.
- Speaking of the rookie-calls, Maalike Wayns proved to be a good one as he looks to be taking firm hold of the backup PG duties. The undrafted rookie out of Villanova had nine points and an impressive eight assists last night. He’s a sparkplug on the break and going to the hoop , he seems to intuitively know where guys are on the floor, and plays with grit (the way you’d expect an undrafted, Philly-product to play)
- Lastly, and hopefully most telling: Even without Bynum around to black shots and clog the paint, I very much liked what I saw from the Sixers’ defense. After years of having to adjust matchups arou and their smallish 2-guards Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks, the 7-6 have gone rather big with the likes of Nick Young, Jason Richardson, Evan Turner and Dorell Wright manning the perimeter (all of whom are 6’6” or taller). That added height and length definitely bothered the Celtics ball handlers, contributing to 12 Sixers takeaways and many more deflections.
All in all, a good effort and a good show of the new things the team is up to this season. And, in case you missed the action last night, here are the highlights for your viewing pleasure.
 Really? Did no one talk about the fact that the first time anyone got a glimpse of the newly-minted Brooklyn Nets they were playing in New Jersey? That would be like the Oklahoma City Thunder playing preseason in Seattle…sorry, still too soon? But still, that would cause a riot so why is this ok? I’m assuming a combination of non-evil conniving owner + no Kevin Durant + deep seeded Newark fan apathy but who can be sure.