After a disappointing showing against the Celtics on Monday, the Sixers were back at it Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets. Though evenly played in the first quarter, the Sixers outpaced the Hornets in the 2nd and did not look back winning 106 to 92.
One Sixer who was especially discouraged after his first game was Nerlens Noel. However, this night was another story, as Noel showed more comfort and confidence on both sides of the ball. His defensive prowess was on display, being able to alter shots in the paint if he wasn't blocking them outright. He finished with 10 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks and 3 assists. Not too shabby.
Much like his first outing, his offensive game is still raw. Jump shooting is still a work in progress (though he made a nice baseline jumper). At least through 2 games, his FT shooting is pretty horrid. However, he'll get his points mostly around the basket and via what will probably be his bread-and-butter this year: the hook shot.
Noel mentioned in his immediate post-game interview with Molly Sullivan that his game and performance was all about "progress", much like the Sixers team as a whole. As fans, even with the growing pains and losses, it's going to be refreshing watching individual players and the team grow, unlike what felt like a complete tear down the previous year.
Let's go with bullet points to talk about the rest of the notables:
- Tony Wroten looked a lot more controlled this game, only netting 3 TOs to 7 assists. He had his way getting to the basket, predictably. He also managed to nail a 3 pointer. Wroten finished the game with 15 points on 10 shots to go along with 6 boards and the 7 aforementioned assists. Considering he played less in the 2nd half, that's a nice stat line.
- So that Alexey Shved fella' looked pretty good? I'm not sure if Mike Baumann gave Alexey a pep talk before this game but he legitimately looked good out there. He still hasn't found his touch beyond the arc but Shved looked effective bringing the ball up, working some pick and rolls and doing some damage in the paint. Plus, there was that Shved-to-McDaniels/Noel Alley Oop. We may have something here, folks.
- Just a thought, but did Shved play the PG role more fluidly than Wroten and/or Ware?
- Elliot Williams made his preseason debut and looked good. For a team that lacks shooting, Williams going 3-5 beyond the arc is encouraging. He made some strides towards the end of last year, let's hope he keeps making them.
- Hollis Thompson played less than 4 minutes after suffering a corneal abrasion from taking some contact on a lay up. We'll keep you posted on any updates when we hear them.
- Brandon Davies looked decent--almost good--in the first half. He showed a flash of some savvy post moves on a nice pump fake and lay up. He also banked a 3! His 2nd half wasn't as fruitful but he does a lot of little things (drawing charges, hustle, comedy relief?). The fact that he's lasted this long with the team is a surprise to me but 'Que Sera, Sera'.
- Arnett Moultrie was active tonight. Much like Monday, Moultrie's effort is encouraging. He made a few jumpers and nice passes. He still doesn't look that great on the defensive end. And while I'm not too privy to the types of jumpers he takes, Marreese Speights 2.0 is a heck of a lot better than what he has been so far.
- K.J. McDaniels had a mixed bag tonight. His defense was fine and had another big block tonight. However, he didn't function to well on offense, being too tentative or too aggressive. He missed all 4 shots beyond the arc and was out of control trying attack the lane. But he can dunk the ball, so there's that?
- Say "Bye" to 100 point Big Macs, Say "Hello" to Wins = 50% Off Papa Johns.
- Next game is on Friday (10/10) at 8pm EST against the Timberwolves. Sixers go to visit Thad Young at his new home!