Understandably hungover after their first win of the season (this is sacrasm), the Sixers went into Madison Square Garden and played their worst game of basketball since the Pacers loss a few weeks ago, losing to the Knicks 99-87.
Here are some observations:
- We're only 20 games into this season, but it is really remarkable that Kristaps Porzingis is this good this early in his career. In 27 minutes of action, Porzingis finished with 17 points (6-10 FG, 2-2 3PT), 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He's just as good defensively as he is offensively, and he scored in just about every way tonight. Hindsight is 20/20, but having Kristaps on this team would really solve a lot of the problems this team is struggling with. I envy New York for drafting him, and I'm going to loathe when the Sixers play him for the next ten years.
- With Jahlil Okafor being suspended for two games, I thought this would be a good way for Nerlens Noel to get himself back on track this season. I was incorrect. Noel finished with 6 points on 3-11 shooting, 4 turnovers, and was a -13 on the night. He was a non-factor on the boards for most of the evening, and once again failed to register a single block in this game. While I know he's not a gifted offensive player, I would at least like to see him improve his touch even the slightest bit. Most of his shots look like he's throwing the ball at the rim/backboard as hard as he can, and hopes it goes in. This team needs him to desperately start contributing on a nightly basis, otherwise most Sixers games will look like this one.
- This was an abysmal shooting night all around. The Sixers were 31-82 from the field, and just 9-28 from beyond the arc. Nik Stauskas still cannot find any sort of offensive rhythm, and at this point I'm not sure what it'll take for him to get on track. Robert Covington was also 2-7 from three, but seemingly hurt his leg, and never returned to action. Philadelphia is so much worse when he isn't on the floor, so I hope his ailment is nothing serious.
- Tony Wroten is set to return on Saturday, meaning the Sixers will have to cut somebody. I imagine that will mean the end of the Phil Pressey era. He played just 10 minutes tonight, and finished with 2 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist. I actually don't think Pressey is an awful player, but he has no real role on this team. T.J. McConnell has at least shown he deserves to have a reserve role when Kendall Marshall returns (which I hear should be shortly).