This is the first Sixers recap I’ve done for Liberty Ballers in five seasons. Improbably, tonight’s team resembled the one that I previously left: directionless!
My reaction? I’m not pleased. Is a random October loss, however thorough that smackdown may have been, the ultimately analysis of where this team lies in the 2022 season? Of course not. I’m tasked with discussing the game at hand though. Nothing more. Nothing less. It wasn’t a pretty evening. This was akin to a sloppy Thursday Night Football performance. The Knicks snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Sixers. Yikes!
I’m going to use a recap format I’ve used for different publications in the past: my 1-2-3-4-5-Sixers takeaways from the game. Here are six observations from the team’s 112-99 loss to the Knicks in New York:
- The energy and vibes in the second quarter, when things truly began to fall apart for the Sixers, were horrendous. The Knicks were pushing the pace with Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley. The Sixers were gassed. Given his health history and status as the Sixers’ best player (and the best big man in the league) that tired play was most notable with Joel Embiid. He’s been playing hurt. He hasn’t quite looked liked himself. Again, it’s October. How about sitting the dude for a game on Thursday?
- Even in the second half when it became clear that the Sixers were well on their way to a loss, the offense possessed zero aggression. Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey were indecisive, tossing the ball around the arc haphazardly. Guys, you’re down 20-plus points in a regular season game. There’s never been a more apt time to throw up threes with reckless abandon in the hope of making some noise and turning the tide, even if it’s just for a moment.
- Furkan Korkmaz, who I adore for having no second-thoughts about launching shots, had two of the worst floater attempts I’ve seen from an NBA player. I wish you could put Korkmaz’s lack of self-awareness in Harris in the hopes that the man worth $180 million would play a little more loose and be more assertive. I’m not hating on Kork! I bought his jersey on Fanatics last week. I’m going to be wearing it to the next game I attend. I respect his commitment to fighting back in the fourth quarter. Bring that energy on Nov. 11 when I’m in the house!
- There’s the idea of young players having a “swing skill,” a potential development in their games that will swing the trajectory of their careers. The obvious thought for Maxey in his second year might be his shooting, but him improving as a finisher and his ability to draw contact in the paint is even more important to me. I’ve said the same thing about Ben Simmons and his infamous shooting woes. Maxey had a great and-1 move in the first quarter and a few other eye-popping moves around the rim too, but I want to see more of it. It’ll become invaluable when he’s attacking closeouts and diversifying his offensive arsenal.
- I’m shocked that this wasn’t an Alec Burks Revenge Game. If you had told me what the final score would be earlier today, I would’ve assumed that Burks did his best Steph Curry impression at MSG. That sadly means the Sixers are still due for such a game from Burks later in the season.
- BEN SIMMONS HAS STILL NEVER LOST TO THE KNICKS.