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Five Figures: Sixers can’t find reliable offense against Magic

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

30.95% FG%

The Sixers struggled to produce offense against the Orlando Magic, in large part due to inconsistency from Furkan Korkmaz, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris. The trio combined to shoot just about 31.0% (30.95%) from the floor on a combined 42 field goals attempted. Perhaps nearly as frustrating is Tobias’ 0-for-3 3PT shooting performance last night. With a goose egg in the 3PM column, Harris is currently running five games straight without connecting from deep and his three-point percentage on the season is down to 20.4%. Right now, the Sixers just cannot count on production from the primary scoring options sans Embiid. The good news is, at least last night, some good looks just didn’t fall. Hey, it happens. But regardless of possible positive regression, nothing seems to come easy for this offense at current. Have to, have to, have to hit open shots.

13 FTA

Given Philly’s size, desire to play a physical game, and lack of shot creation, getting to the line should be part of their modus operandi. Unfortunately against the Magic, the Sixers were unable to get the refs to blow the whistle. They accumulated just 13 FTA as a team for the entire game versus 34 for the Magic. Road teams can often be at a slight disadvantage when it comes to refereeing and Joel Embiid, who has made drawing fouls part of his offensive toolbox, was out against the Magic. But a FTA differential of 21 is massive and can’t be excused. Of the Sixers five starters, all took at least 11 field goals yet only TWO of them drew any fouls. According to Cleaning The Glass, excluding garbage time, the Sixers were fouled on shot attempts just three times and only one of those were at the rim! And despite being perfect at the rim in last night’s game(!), the Sixers only attempted 17 shots at cup, making up just 19% of their shot selection (this sentence also brought to you by CTG). As I alluded to with our previous statistic, the Sixers need to find a way to make offense easier for themselves, especially with their shooters struggling. Attacking the rim with their very large men and getting to the line is their best path to do so, and they did not achieve that against the Magic.

8 offensive rebounds

One thing that the Sixers have been able to count on game to game is offensive rebounding. Before last night’s matchup with the Magic, the Sixers did not have a single game in which Cleaning The Glass tracked them as having rebounded less than 23.0% of their misses. In fact, their loss to Phoenix last week was the Sixers’ only game in which they secured offensive rebounds at a below-average rate. That is, of course, until they played the Magic last night, when Philly grabbed just 8 offensive boards. In a 15-point loss, a lack of 2nd chance points isn’t the first thing that comes to mind as a reason for such an ass-kicking. But for this team in particular, who has built dominating the boards into their identity, it’s a disappointing performance.

-17 in the 4th

For as uninspiring a game as the Sixers were playing, they went into the 4th quarter with a 2-point lead, the game: theirs to lose. And lose it they did, as they were outscored by 17 points in the final frame, 32-15. Over the first nearly 6 minutes of the 4th, the Sixers managed just 5 points. In total across the last quarter, the Sixers got their 15 points on 19 attempts, hitting just 6 shots (1-7 3PT). Below is their 4th quarter shot chart, courtesy of Basketball Reference:

Philadelphia 76ers 4th quarter shot chart vs. Magic 11/13/19.
Basketball Reference

The Magic, on the other hand, got seemingly whatever they wanted in the 4th. While Orlando clanked a few threes (2-7), they owned the floor inside the arc hitting 65% of their 2PT field goals in the 4th quarter.

Lackadaisical defense and poor offensive execution down the stretch is the perfect recipe to blow a game.

21 Minutes

Markelle Fultz played 21 minutes against the Sixers last night, his first meaningful game against the team that selected him 1st overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Fultz’s night wasn’t anything impressive, scoring a modest 8 points (2-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 4-6 FT), collecting 4 rebounds and dishing 3 assists. He finished a -4, the only member of the Orlando Magic in the negative other than Al-Farouq Aminu, who saw a single minute of action. Truth be told, Markelle Fultz looks largely the same as he did in Philly, just under less pressure.

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