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Summer Sixers fall to 1-1 with 96-82 loss to Boston

We still pried Al Horford away from Boston

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 2 - Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Led by forever former Sixer Carsen Edwards (game-high 20 points), the Celtics served the Sixers their first loss of this year’s Vegas Summer League. Boston took the lead for good with a few minutes left in the first quarter, and held a double-digit advantage for the majority of the second half, so the outcome was never really in doubt.

Edwards looks like he could be a thorn in Philadelphia’s side for years to come, flashing the ability to create separation at will and hoisting up 12 3s (hitting five); he was also a pest defensively. Grant Williams also played well for the Celtics, sporting a game-best plus-21 plus/minus while tallying 12 points, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. However, the initial post-trade referendum wasn’t all bad for the Sixers, as Matisse Thybulle looks like he’ll be able to step in and help the big club right away.

Thybulle led the Sixers with 15 points, going 4-of-9 from behind the arc, and recording 2 blocks and a steal. These spot-up 3s are going to be available all the time for Matisse off Ben Simmons drives or Joel Embiid post-ups.

He also showed off some dribble-drive ability with a slick bucket along the baseline.

Of course, the defensive side of the ball will remain Thybulle’s calling card. Check out his ability to navigate through traffic and nearly get the steal.

And he showed off terrific timing for this block-from-behind.

Elsewhere on the roster, Zhaire Smith looked a little out of sorts trying to do too much at times (4 turnovers), but still had plenty of strong moments. He scored 14 points, hitting 2-of-5 from downtown, and while it wasn’t the alley-oop show of the night before, Smith showed off his hops once again.

Finishing around the rim, and like Thybulle, an ability to drain spot-up 3s will allow Zhaire to slide in seamlessly to the Sixers’ offense. There’s plenty to like with this stroke from outside.

Norvel Pelle’s game doesn’t extend much beyond protecting the rims and finishing lobs, but man, he sure does the heck out of those things. The recent two-way contract signee had 9 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks. I’m curious to see how well Pelle defends against NBA big men who can draw him outside the restricted area, but it’s easy to see why the Sixers want to keep him around.

The last two guys relevant to the Winter Sixers are Marial Shayok and Shake Milton. Shayok had 14 points and 4 turnovers. He can certainly score the basketball, with the ability to pull-up or shoot off the dribble. However, Shayok often shows tunnel vision and when the defense takes away his first option, it can lead to a turnover or what were many near-turnovers off deflections. Still, shot creation is a valuable NBA skill so there’s at least something to work with there.

Meanwhile, Milton struggled for the second straight game in Vegas, shooting 2-of-15 from the field (0-of-8 from 3). The Sixers are trying this Point Shake experiment during the summer to see if they can find minutes for him at backup point, but I don’t see it. Milton doesn’t look like he’s able to create separation against the opposition in Vegas, so it definitely wouldn’t project to work against NBA defenders. I think Shake’s ultimate role with the team will be as a spot-up guy who can then drive against a rotating help defense.

Now 1-1, the Summer Sixers will re-take the court Monday afternoon against Oklahoma City.

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