The Sixers long awaited season of tanking has officially started.
The Sixers kicked off pre-season playing against the Bilbao Buckets in Spain, in which they won 106-104 (NOT HOW YOU TANK, BRETT.) Your starters for today’s game were: Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Evan Turner, Thad Young and Spencer Hawes. Everyone besides Khaliff Wyatt, and those that did not travel, got into the game today.
Evan led the way with 25 points on 7-15 shooting and 10-12 FTs. He also added 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a solid 5 turnovers as well. Tony Wroten added 16 points (10-12 FTs as well), James Anderson shot 6-8 for 15 points, Thad contributed 14 and the surprise scorer of the game was Darius Morris with 12 points and 2-3 from 3! MCW led the way with 6 assists and had ZERO turnovers.
The Sixers looked decent overall. The first half started off somewhat rough, as players seemed a little lost on the floor but as they settled in, they started clicking a little better. Turnovers were a problem all through out the game (which is to be expected in the first pre-season game). The team was forcing a lot of passes in transition but the takeaway from that is that they were pushing the ball the entire game. Interior defense was abysmal; Bilbao had 16 offensive rebounds… That’s just not going to cut it. The Sixers were terrific on the perimeter, however. They forced 31 turnovers and racked up 23 steals in the process. Overall, the Sixers shot pretty well, shooting 44.5% from the field and 40% from 3
Something’s to keep an eye on: The Thad Young 3 experience (went 1 of 4 from downtown today) and just the stagnant tendencies of the offense. There were times where it concerned me (again, I know it’s the first pre-season game. Just something that is worth keeping an eye on.)
With 6:50 left in the 4th, Brett Brown put Wroten, ET, Anderson, Thad and Spencer. MCW was left out and Wroten was left in. Not sure if Coach Brown was just going with the hot hand, if he was trying to get a better look at Wroten or if he just didn’t trust MCW down the stretch to make smart plays but it was something that caught me off guard.
As the game was dwindling down, Bilbao tied it after Thad fouled a Bilbao-ian player from 3 (Brown pulled Thad after that and played Ohlbrecht on the final play). He made all 3 shots and tied it with 6.3 seconds left. The Sixers advanced the ball to half court after the timeout and threw it into Hawes and was fouled immediately (Euro teams apparently foul when tied and want the last possession of the game, it doesn’t make sense to me but whatever.) Spencer hit both FTs and made it 106-104. Bilbao took a long 3 after their timeout and missed it. Sixers win.
Evan was very impressive today, even though he kept pulling up from 15 feet out. I was really hoping those habits would have done away when Dougie Collins was let go. Hawes was very unimpressive as a whole and Thad was unimpressive on the offensive end (even though he ended up with 14 points.) Darius Morris surprised me, I was expecting to see the same out of control player I’ve seen since his Michigan days but he actually was poised for the most part. Wroten was a terror in the passing lane, which was good to see.
High point of the game: Darius Morris fast break behind the back pass to Hollis Thompson for the JAM!
Low point of the game: Actually having to watch the game. Just kidding. Sorta…
The Sixers will play on Tuesday at 3 pm (which you can watch on NBATV) against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Manchester, England. I, for one, am looking forward to watching the epic battle of Kevin Durant and Evan Turner going shot for shot against each other.