With Ben Simmons still out for mental health reasons, Tobias Harris in health and safety protocols, and Joel out with his first “load management” of the year, Andre Drummond and the Sixers came together for a big time victory. Drummond led the way with 14 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals. Yes, five steals! The big man was a menace defensively and was the first player to have that stat line with no turnovers since Hakeem Olajuwon on March 3, 1990.
I, along with 20,000 other fans, was apart of the “we want Lillard” chants Monday night. As Dame Time was at the charity stripe, the Center chanted loudly in unison. Lillard finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists but it wasn’t enough. It may be time for his departure. Portland falls to 3-4 — a rough start to the year for Chauncey Billups and his staff. As for the Sixers they move on to 5-2 and sit fifth in a loaded Eastern Conference.
The Sixers have begun the season on a high note, in large part due to the team’s depth and balance.
Seth Curry and Georges Niang are slowly developing into fan favorites. The better Curry finished the night with 23 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Niang, the former Salt Lake City product, not only finished with 21-5-5, but received MVP chants as the crowd showed their appreciation for him stepping up in Tobias’ absence.
Tyrese Maxey was an efficient 4-of-8 from the field but didn’t shoot as much as one would have hoped for in 30 minutes.
Philadelphia (5-2) will host the one-seed Chicago Bulls (6-1) Wednesday night as winners of their last three games. Both Harris and Simmons will remain out, but Embiid should be ready to roll. The Sixers were 31-11 in conference games last year and will look to keep that winning percentage high this year.
Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Nikola Vucevic, and the Bulls have yet to lose a game on the road. Philly looks to snap that streak Wednesday night.