Some typical preseason issues occurred with some messy play at both ends of the floor, which is hardly surprising as the Sixers work to implement a new system with a host of new players. They committed 26 turnovers, but shot 53.3 percent overall and made 11 of their 31 three-pointers (35.5 percent), while the Pacers struggled with 37.1 percent shooting and a 26.2 percent mark from three.
Malcolm Brogdon was held to 21 points on just 7-of-22 shooting (Ben Simmons played some brilliant defense on him at times), while Victor Oladipo added 20 points and Domantas Sabonis led the way for Indiana, dropping 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Excellent defense from Ben Simmons to close the first half here. He was all over Brogdon. pic.twitter.com/69PTP0lZqw— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) December 19, 2020
The Sixers had to play without Joel Embiid, who was out with a non-COVID related illness, though there were a bunch of strong performances from the bench. Shake Milton continues to grow in confidence, and tallied 15 points (4-of-8 shooting with a pair of threes) and 5 assists in 21 minutes. Dwight Howard’s defense wasn’t as good as it was in the preseason opener against Boston, but he had 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting, making his offensive presence felt in the paint with his finishing and 3 offensive rebounds. Furkan Korkmaz (14 points) and Mike Scott (12 points) had hot shooting games off the bench as well, both going 4-of-6 from three.
Tyrese Maxey stood out yet again. He got some first half minutes against the Pacers after only appearing in the fourth quarter against the Celtics in the preseason opener, and finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in just under 17 minutes. Maxey showed off his driving and impressive finishing again, and added a great snatch-back jumper late in the fourth quarter.
We continue to see some of the offensive adjustments that Doc Rivers and his coaching staff are introducing. The Sixers ran quite a lot more pick-and-roll through preseason, with Milton and Howard developing some nice chemistry and Simmons handling more as well.
The play below is a good example of how Simmons can work with spread pick-and-roll.
An example of the Sixers getting good stuff out of a Ben Simmons pick-and-roll.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) December 19, 2020
Good screen from Bradley, Simmons gets to attack Sabonis downhill, Stanley starts helping from the weak-side corner, and Simmons fires a great pass to Shake in space. pic.twitter.com/xlH7oyjzAW
Oh, and seeing as Simmons’ shooting always garners attention, I feel like I can’t finish this recap without mentioning that he attempted an above-the-break three.
The Sixers will begin their regular season campaign on Wednesday, December 23, as they take on the Washington Wizards at home.