MONDAY NIGHT HOOPS!
The Sixers, currently sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, are eyeing their fifth win of the season against the Blazers (3-3, eighth in the Western Conference).
To get ready for tonight, here are three noteworthy Sixers plotlines to follow:
1. The Sixers have the highest offensive rating in the entire NBA right now at 114.9 points per 100 possessions. Before the sample size troops come for my head, yes, I’m aware it’s only been six games, but to see the Sixers operating at this level offensively does not compute with my brain after having watched this franchise for two-plus decades.
The highest the Sixers have finished in offensive rating in stats.nba.com’s database (going back to the 1996-97 season), is eighth in the 2018-19 season (111.6 points per 100 possessions). Otherwise, the team has sometimes finished around a league-average mark or otherwise been in the NBA’s offensive basement. Hell, during the Sixers’ magical 2001 season, they only finished 14th in offensive rating (101.9 points per 100 possessions, albeit in a wildly different offensive climate).
Yes, again, it’s a small-sample size, but it appears that some of these changes are what could’ve been expected from those that have been bearish on Ben Simmons. The Sixers’ defense has tailed off compared to rates around the league (17th with 106.3 points per 100 possessions given up compared to second with 107.0 in 2021), but is now tops in offensive rating, field goal percentage (48.8 percent), free throw percentage (86.5 percent) and ninth in three-point shots made per game (13.3).
2. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum come to town, two fantasized trade targets from Sixers fans in hypothetical Simmons trades. The idea of acquiring Lillard for Simmons seems increasingly unrealistic and may have always been that far-fetched. McCollum isn’t nearly the same level player as Lillard, but McCollum has actually been outplaying Lillard during the first six games of Portland’s season. McCollum is averaging 24.3 points per game while taking 10.0 threes per night with a true shooting percentage of 57.4 percent.
Perhaps the Sixers could just keep him in Philly immediately following the game?
3. Who can forget Furkan Korkmaz’s iconic game-winning three against the Blazers back in November 2019?
Are we in store for another legendary moment tonight? Probably not, as I hope this game is wrapped up neatly in the middle of the fourth quarter.
This article was written before Joel Embiid was ruled out for tonight:
The official injury report has been updated with Joel Embiid missing tonight’s game for a planned rest, as first reported by @PompeyOnSixers.— Paul Hudrick (@PaulHudrick) November 1, 2021
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trailblazers
When: 7:00 pm ET, November 1, 2021
Where: Wells Fargo Center, South Philadelphia
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic