Welp, that wasn’t pretty.
The Sixers toppled the Mavericks 120-114 in a game that was a pretty unappealing watch. I guess that’s what happens when you fly to the other side of the globe for a basketball game. Maybe it was jet lag, maybe it was a disrupted sleep cycle, maybe the Sixers and the Mavs just didn’t take the game seriously. Whatever the case, the game was tough to get through as the two teams combined for nearly 30 turnovers and 44 personal fouls.
Ben Simmons’ stat line could confuse someone who didn’t watch the game: he nearly had a triple-double, with 9 points, 10 assists and 9 boards. There were some positives, like his effectiveness in the post early on, as Embiid wandered out on the perimeter. But make no mistake, Simmons looked notably sloppy compared to his usual floor-general-self, and his 5 turnovers tied Joel Embiid for a team high. Ben threw at least two passes out of bounds as a result of poor timing. Ben wasn’t the only disappointment, as Markelle Fultz made very little impact on the game. Fultz finished with just 2 points on 1 of 6 shooting, to go along with just 1 rebound and 2 assists. (Edit: Fultz line was 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting, 3 rebs, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 TO.) Fultz was able to pry the ball away on defense, registering 3 steals, but those were sort of offset with his 5 personal fouls. Dario Saric also wasn’t much of a contributor, as he struggles to find his shooting touch, hitting just three of his 11 field goals. Overall, most of the offense looked out of sync.
So how did the Sixers come out victorious with such lousy play from their starters? JJ Redick and Landry Shamet absolutely lit the floor up. The two sharpshooters tacked on 46 points from the bench (Redick 28 pts, Shamet 18 pts). JJ Redick had a perfect game from the field, shooting 10 of 10 overall and 7 of 7 from 3PT land. Landry Shamet wasn’t as prolific, but he was damn good, and it seems as though he’s learning from Redick.
Shamet has been impressive so far in preseason, and he looks primed to fill the Marco Belinelli hole in the rotation. Except that Shamet is a better ball-handler and passer than Belinelli, and likely a better defender. (I’ve personally been very impressed with Shamet’s D, as I noted after the Orlando Magic game.) It’s worth noting that Brett Brown has increased Shamet’s minutes with every game of the preseason. Against Melbourne, Landry played just 12 minutes. In the Orlando Magic game, he was on the floor for 19 minutes. And today against the Mavs, he saw 25 minutes of action. Shamet’s stock is skyrocketing, buy some while you still can.
The Sixers will take on the Mavs again on Monday October 8th. Hopefully the Sixers’ offense doesn’t look as out of sync.