WOW! Sixers basketball is back. Like fully back! It’s so awesome to say that. The Philadelphia 76ers matched up against an exciting young Grizzles team for their first of three upcoming scrimmages. The game started off exactly how you think a game would be after a 4 month hiatus. The first few minutes featured players trying to shake off some rust with a myriad of missed shots and sloppy turnovers. Fortunately, things did heat up on the Sixers’ end. A pair of Joel Embiid threes and hot perimeter shooting gave the Sixers a large lead after the first quarter; 25-12.
The second quarter had a similar story to the first. Furkan Korkmaz heated up and the Sixers’ stellar shooting expanded an already large lead up to 29 points. This period also featured some exciting plays from Matisse Thybulle; who reminded us that he’s very good at basketball. He was a menace on the defensive end and even had a poster dunk over Jaren Jackson Jr.
HEY GRIZZLIES THIS IS MATISSE THYBULLE, WELCOME TO MY VLOG. pic.twitter.com/esir6ovEgc— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 24, 2020
If you think that was good, you’ll love the play that happened immediately after it. Ben Simmons pushed the tempo on a fast break which led to a no look alley-oop to Tobias Harris.
Absolutely perfectly placed no-look alley-oop from Ben Simmons here pic.twitter.com/1fiE23Z5Ck— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) July 24, 2020
The first half Sixers were awesome. They lead 54-28 going into halftime. A comfortable lead turned into a large one and made it seem like the Sixers were going to run away with the game. Shake Milton was leading the offense well, Joel Embiid was giving the team solid minutes at both ends, and Simmons even attempted a catch and shoot corner three! The team knocked down 7 of their first 15 attempts from behind the arc. What could go wrong?
Well, the third quarter Sixers made their famous appearance in the second half. Joel Embiid did not appear in the second half (likely due to limiting his minutes) so fan favorite Al Horford was given the nod at center. Horford preformed decently, but there was a notable drop off compared to having Embiid on the court.
The Grizzles made a huge push outscoring the Sixers 34-18 in the period. However, all was not lost! We got to witness Ben Simmons shooting and making a corner three! This was the first professional game ever in which we witnessed Simmons attempt more than one real three pointer. It was beautiful:
Well, there it is. Ben Simmons takes and makes his second corner 3-pointer pic.twitter.com/Y0xn0DPtQh— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) July 24, 2020
The Sixers’ bench/third stringers were mainly in charge of the final quarter and did a pretty solid job. Memphis ran their starting unit for the majority of the final period and only outscored Philly by 3 points. The Sixers managed to hang on and win their first scrimmage 90-83.
There’s a lot to takeaway from this first game. The first and largest storyline of today’s game will likely be Simmons’ willingness to shoot the basketball. He didn’t hesitate on either attempt and actually made the defense pay some attention to him on the perimeter. It’s only one game, but if he can continue to shoot two or three times from behind the arc it can help open up this team’s offense.
Simmons was definitely rusty on the offensive end as he missed some easy layups in the first few periods. He did, however, set a great tone with stellar defense and posted 9 assists in the first half.
Shake Milton’s stat line may not seem like anything major on the box score, but he really did perform well. We didn’t know what to expect when it came to Shake being a featured player alongside Simmons and Embiid. While it is a small sample, the Sixers offense looked good. Shake spaced the floor well and ran the offense a lot better than expected.
Tobias Harris put up a monster stat line in only 22 minutes of play; 15 points (6-11 FG), 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal. He was a major source of offense for the Sixers. The only compliant I have in regards to him was his three point shooting. He only attempted (and missed) one three pointer. Ultimately the Sixers will need him to hoist up way more attempts from behind the arc as his spacing is incredibly valuable. Look for him to attempt more outside shots as time progresses.
The Sixers bench also preformed well overall. Glenn Robinson III had solid minutes on both ends of the floor, Korkmaz was putting pressure on the opposing defense from the perimeter, and Matisse Thybulle provided a massive spark in the first half.
I also feel like I wouldn’t be doing justice if I didn’t mention Norvel Pelle. Pelle did Pelle things: rebounded well, blocked a few shots, hit a three off the dribble. Just usual and totally normal stuff for him.
Norvel Pelle with a 3 as the shot clock expires because why not pic.twitter.com/qN2xhwSlOc— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) July 24, 2020
The Sixers will look to build on this win with their next scrimmage against Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday (12 PM).