Sixers: Good, bad, ugly from inexcusable loss to Spurs

Joel Embiid, Sixers Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, Sixers Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports /

Bad elements of Sixers’ loss to Spurs

  • James Harden’s regression

I’m still extremely confident in the version of James Harden the Sixers are getting this season. Even his “bad” game resulted in a near triple-double of 12 points, nine rebounds, and 12 assists. He leverages the defensive attention paid to him with expertise and precision, constantly putting teammates in favorable situations.

That said, 12 points on 18 shots is not great. After hitting what felt like every mid-range attempt against the Bucks, Harden found points much harder to come by in this one. Naturally, there will also be games where Harden simply takes the backseat to Embiid. That’s fine. I’m not worried about him.

  • Tyrese Maxey’s defense

This was the strongest offensive output of the season for Tyrese Maxey. He scored 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting (3-of-8 from deep) and supplied six assists. More playmaking juice from the 21-year-old is a good sign of things to come. Unfortunately, Maxey was -11 on the night. That was the worst mark of any starter and second worst on the whole team. It’s because of his defense. Maxey is giving up dribble penetration far too easily right now. There are natural limitations that come with being 6-foot-2, but he’s an elite athlete with above-average strength for his size. He has to be better.

  • The bench’s (lack of) offense 

The bench did show signs of life and there’s reason to be optimistic about the defensive duo of Melton and House. But between Niang’s eight points and House’s two points, the bench still combined for 10 total points. If the Sixers’ supposedly elite depth is going to truly deliver on its preseason hype, there have to be more points on the horizon. Mainly from Melton, who doesn’t look like he knows what to do on offense right now. Maybe that’s more on our beloved head coach Doc Rivers.