GRADES: Shorthanded Sixers scorch Nets in preseason

Isaiah Joe, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah Joe, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

On a night where Ben Simmons made his return to the team, albeit mid-game and still lacking clarity, the Sixers backcourt played masterfully. Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and even Grant Riller were all out for an assortment of reasons and yet it did not matter.

Isaiah Joe and Furkan Korkmaz started in the backcourt for Philadelphia with Danny Green, Georges Niang, and Joel Embiid making up the frontcourt.

Philadelphia jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter and seemingly never looked back. Kevin Durant kicked off the scoring for the Brooklyn Nets, but an immediate 8-0 run gave Philadelphia a lead they would never give back.

Embiid scored in a myriad of ways including an emphatic dunk following some excellent ball movement by Philadelphia. His 14 points led all players in the quarter while Korkmaz chipped in 11 points himself during the same stretch. Heading into the second, Philadelphia led 37-25.

James Harden and Durant combined for 16 points, three rebounds, and two assists in the second quarter but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Joe, Korkmaz, and Andre Drummond who would take over the center spot with Embiid never re-entering the game after the first quarter. The trio combined for 23 points with Joe scoring 11 points on four shots, including draining all three of his long balls.

Coming out of the locker room, Philadelphia carried a 68-49 lead. More of the same persisted for the squads as the trio this time combined for 25 points as they outscored Brooklyn themselves.

The fourth quarter was left to the reserves as Shaquille Harrison, Paul Reed, Aaron Henry, Jaden Springer, and Charles Bassey played nearly the whole time. Harrison and Reed looked poised and played with more experience while Springer and Henry combined to go 0-8. Despite the dismal fourth quarter, Philadelphia held on with ease and eventually won 115-104.

Grades from the Sixers’ preseason victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

  • Furkan Korkmaz: A+

33 mins | 27 pts | 3 reb | 4 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 11-19 FG | 4-10 3PT| 1-1 FT | 0 PF | +20 |

Korkmaz scored 27 points on 19 shots while flashing some playmaking chops. With Joe shooting lights out, Maxey, Curry, Thybulle, and Milton likely to demand minutes, nights like these will go a long way into making sure Korkmaz still gets his chances to shine.

  • Isaiah Joe: A+

27 mins | 20 pts | 1 reb | 3 ast | 2 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 6-9 FG | 5-7 3PT| 3-3 FT | 3 PF | +14 |

No one has done more to improve their stock during the preseason than Joe. 20 points on nine attempts. Made some plays defensively and is possibly the best shooter on a team that starts a man named Curry. Joe should see minutes surrounding Embiid during the regular season, because him and Curry together will absolutely create space and punish teams who leave them.

  • Joel Embiid: A

8 mins | 14 pts | 1 reb | 3 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 6-8 FG | 1-1 3PT| 1-1 FT | 2 PF | +12 |

He played eight minutes and had 14 points. Brooklyn is a more talented team, but they don’t have anyone who can really pretend to check Embiid. It will be a lot to ask of him to win a seven-game series, but there may not be a player better equipped in the entire league to do as much. The man is dominant.

  • Andre Drummond: A

22 mins | 16 pts | 6 reb | 6 ast | 2 stl | 0 blk | 2 TO | 5-11 FG | 0-0 3PT| 6-12 FT | 2 PF | +8 |

Much less so than Embiid, but the sentiment somewhat remains. Brooklyn has a small frontcourt and Drummond can lean on the guys when Embiid sits. An active defender who finished 18th in the NBA in deflections per minute last season, Drummond will prove crucial to Philadelphia’s success.

  • Shaquille Harrison: A-

Harrison likely won’t make the team, but he is proving his value on the defensive end. The team in a somewhat typically sloppy preseason game, got 20 steals for which Harrison snagged five. A full box score can go a long way in securing someone a job no matter where they end up and it’s nice to highlight the success he had tonight.

Brooklyn will close out the preseason on Thursday as they host Minnesota sans Kyrie Irving. No doubt there will be questions about his availability which will likely only be rivaled by the turmoil to come in Philadelphia. The team finishes their preseason in Detroit on Friday, but almost all the focus will be on Ben Simmons reporting to the city and what the future holds.

Next. Ranking every player on the Sixers roster. dark