Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news? Okay, the good news is that the Sixers attempted 37 three-pointers against the Dallas Mavericks. The Sixers have attempted more than 37 triples just five times this season, so the game ranks up on the higher end in terms of volume. The bad news is that the Sixers shot a lousy 24.3% from behind the arc on those 37 attempts. The starting lineup in particular struggled from deep, with Josh Richardson, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, and Mike Scott combining to go 8 of 27 (29.6%).
In addition to their inability to generate points from distance, the Sixers failed to convert at the rim. According to Cleaning The Glass, barely more than half of the Sixers’ attempts at the rim were successful at 53.8%. The Sixers sabotaged a few layups on their own that I recall but the Mavericks applied a ton of pressure as well, racking up 8 blocks. For context, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the NBA in blocks per game at 7.4. Nearly all of those 8 blocks were on attempts in the restricted area or thereabouts.
Without Joel Embiid, who is 7th in the NBA in FTA per game with 8.1, the Sixers were unable to get to the charity stripe with 12 free throws attempted for the entire team (and they only made 8). Kudos to the Sixers — it’s tough to accumulate no more than 12 free throws over the course of a 48-minute game. Inefficient three-point production, poor conversion rate at the rim, no gimmes? Yup, an 18-point loss checks out.
Surprise, more good news. Ben Simmons collected 4 steals against the Mavericks, giving Simmons 8 games this season in which he’s had at least 4 thefts. He had 7 such performances all of last season. It also preserved Simmons rank atop the NBA leader board in steals per game (2.2) and total steals (83). Two of the forced turnovers led to fastbreak dunks for Simmons. On the first, Ben, playing free safety in the backcourt, jumped an ill-advised kick out pass from Dorian Finney-Smith and soloed the length of the court. Less than two minutes later, Simmons poked the ball away from an unsuspecting Luka Doncic as he was dribbling around a teammate’s screen. Al Horford scooped up the loose ball and floated a pass overtop to a streaking Simmons who stuffed it for the score.
He really meant that tweet this morning. pic.twitter.com/x2pnTryFGU— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 12, 2020
One final positive takeaway from a game that was otherwise doomed by poor shooting, the Sixers took care of the ball and limited themselves to 4 turnovers. (Per Cleaning The Glass, that equated to a turnover percentage of just 4.5%.) That’s not only the lowest total turnovers for a game this season, it’s the lowest total for a single game in the entire Brett Brown era!