With Isaiah Canaan, Luc Mbah a Moute and Thomas Robinson in street clothes dealing with injuries, Brett Brown’s depleted Sixers could do nothing to stop the resurgence of Andrea Bargnani Sunday night. Nerlens Noel managed to play on the second night of a back-to-back despite suffering that eye injury down in Charlotte.
It was an incredible night of sloppy basketball and a game that reeked of tanking from a certain New York organization.
The Knicks are currently starting Lance Thomas at the 3. That's arguably more egregious than anything the Sixers did last year.
The Knicks are currently starting Lance Thomas at the 3. That's arguably more egregious than anything the Sixers did last year.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) https://twitter.com/rich_hofmann/status/584864501046083584">April 5, 2015
Here are some quick observations:
- Nerlens certainly didn’t have the same type of impact he’s had post All-Star break. His 14-point, 9-rebound, 4-assist, 2-block stat line was a pretty empty one at that. He struggled against Jason Smith, Bargnani and Lou Amundson all evening. But, I don’t want to take the time to praise his shot blocking. Obviously, you don’t develop the nickname "The Eraser" without having a reputation for rim protection. We still don’t give Nerlens enough credit for his ambidextrous shot-blocking ability. Early in the first quarter, he went up to block Bargnani with his right hand but his shoulder touched the backboard on his jump, so he switched to his left hand and swatted Bargnani’s attempt after Jerami Grant fouled him. It was incredibly impressive.
- Speaking of Bargnani, the former Toronto Raptor truly looked like a fromer No. 1 overall pick playing against Henry Sims and Furkan Aldemir. He posted 11 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocks in the first quarter alone before finishing with 25 points, 8 boards, 4 blocks and 4 dimes. How hilarious would it be if some team gives him a four-year deal this summer? Someone will, right? He does already play for James Dolan…
-Canaan’s injury led to the return of PointKarr! And JaKarr Sampson performed admirably in the unfamiliar role. He was a +10 for the game, by far the best +/- mark of any Sixer. He came into the game to start the second quarter and immediately led the Sixers to an 8-0 run to claim a 31-30 lead. He finished with 2 points, 3 assists and just 1 turnover. It’s certainly not a sparkling statline, but he moved the ball well and really created open looks for teammates. He helped guide Philly to a 9-0 run late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 83 as well.
- Ish to Nerlens alley oops
- Marc Zumoff has a lot of popular sayings, but it’s really great how much fun he has calling a loose rebound that hits the court a "floor board." Very underrated.
- Maybe it was just amplified playing against the slower Lance Thomas most of the night, but Jerami Grant, with such limited experience on the wing in college, has become so good at recognizing how to attack the paint as the defense reacts to the ball changing sides of the floor. He finished with just 4 points on 2-7 shooting, but he really has the look of a competent NBA player. And that’s exciting.
- After resting last night to play tonight, Jason Richardson really struggled. He had no legs on his jumper, shooting just 1-6 from three-point land. He brought the ball up at the end of the third quarter before bricking a fade away over Shane Larkin, perfectly playing the part of old man, streaky shooter in a pickup game.
- Former Sixers Jason Smith looked like former Sixer Dikembe Mutombo blocking shots. He finished with 4 rejections. It was really cool to see him playing well post ACL surgery and journeying around the league a bit.
Next up for the Sixers host the Wizards on Wednesday night. A win would be huge to help the Thunder chase down Washington and reclaim the 19th pick.