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Five Figures: Sixers starters struggle to score in loss to Bucks

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

6 FGA

In 41 minutes of play against the Milwaukee Bucks, Ben Simmons attempted just 6 shots from the floor, finishing with 11 points. He’s now at a total of 13 FGA in his last two games (@ MIA, @ MIL) after averaging 14.0 a game for the month of January. Upon Joel Embiid’s return from injury, you might expect Simmons’ FGA to drop some. But at least in Monday’s game against the Miami Heat, Simmons got to the line for 9 FTA. In last night’s contest with the Bucks, Ben had just 4 FTA and sank only one of those. Simmons did have 9 assists, making him responsible for at least 29 of the Sixers’ points (likely more than factoring in 3PT coming off his assists). But January Ben showed us he has the skill set to facilitate and to score. I’d like to see him keep that up.

31.8% FG

While the Sixers found success shooting triples in Milwaukee (12-45 3PT), they ultimately shot poorly overall, with a majority of their starting lineup struggling to find the bottom of the net from anywhere inside the perimeter. Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Joel Embiid combined to go 21 of 66 from the floor (31.8% FG). Both Harris and Horford deserve credit for contributing 5 threes apiece, but they also combined to go 5 for 23 outside of triples and neither got to the line a single time. Embiid appears to be bothered by the medical tape and splint on his left hand, hitting only 6 of his 26 shots and generally looking subpar.

14 FTA

Coming into the season, one thing most assumed the Sixers could bank on would be their free throw frequency. “Sure, the offense will take time, but they are huge and will attack the rim and therefore live on the line.” Only that has not been the case, far from it. The Sixers are 22nd in the NBA in free throw attempts per game, coincidentally, with 22.0 FTA/gm (and even before Joel Embiid’s injury they were just one rank higher at 21st). To make matters worse, their 74.4% at the line is 24th in the NBA.

Against the Bucks, Philly managed to get just 14 free throw attempts. Yes, they are on the road and yes they are playing against one of the NBA’s baby faces. But there is absolutely no reason that Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford should combine for 111 minutes played and 20’4” and 705 lbs. of presence, and be able to claim 4 free throw attempts between them.

0-4

On a crucial road trip before the All-Star break, the Sixers went 0-4, continuing a season-long trend of struggles away from home. Three of the losses were against rival contenders in the Heat, Bucks, and Boston Celtics. No easy challenge, to be clear. But it’s wholly disappoiting that the team couldn’t even find a way to squeeze out a dub against the one of the league’s worst teams in the Atlanta Hawks. The All-Star break can’t come soon enough, the Sixers look gassed and in need of some serious introspection. At least they are back home for four contests until then.

3 points

Ending on a positive note: Marial Shayok hit his first shot attempt, a 3PT, giving him his first (and only so far) 3 points of his NBA career. Shayok only got to play 7 minutes, so his opportunities were limited. But I think I’ve got something you might like. How about a short clip of an NBA player unconsciously shooting threes at any chance he gets?