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Montrezl Harrell’s scoring flurry leads Sixers past Cavs in second preseason game

The veteran big man was cooking in the second half.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Sixers fans got their first look at the new starting five Wednesday night, as the team took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. P.J. Tucker and Danuel House made their Sixer debuts, and Donovan Mitchell took the court as a Cavalier for the first time.

It was the Tyrese Maxey Show in the first half and the Montrezl Harrell Show in the second half. The Sixers knocked off the Cavs, 113-112. Here are some instant reactions from Wednesday night’s preseason action.

First quarter

  • Tyrese Maxey once again stood out among the starters. He may be the only player in the NBA who doesn't know how to play at preseason speed. He and Tobias Harris both had nine first-quarter points.
  • It is certainly worth tracking the Sixers rotations in the first half, given this is the first look with the full squad this season. Notably, De’Anthony Melton and Georges Niang were the first guys off the bench tonight.
  • Embiid and Harden both had shifts with four bench guys. If there is going to be any sort of staggering among Philly’s four stars, look for it to be Embiid/Maxey and Harden/Harris. Somewhat surprisingly, Paul Reed was the first center off the bench, not Montrezl Harrell.

Second quarter

  • De’Anthony Melton is going to be a menace for opposing backcourts this year. There isn’t going to be much defense talk in a preseason recap, but Melton managed to be a nuisance on the defensive end.
  • Two offensive rebounds in one possession for P.J. Tucker!
  • Tyrese Maxey is, again, making everyone say, “It’s just the preseason” over and over. Twenty-one first half points, 9-of-11 from the field, including a perfect 3-of-3 beyond the arc.
  • It wasn’t the smoothest first half for James Harden, but he ended on a good note, putting this move on Dean Wade.
  • I actually thought Harden moved pretty well and got good looks, despite shooting just 3-of-9 from the field in the first half.

Third quarter

  • No Isaiah Joe minutes at all this game, that’s a bummer!
  • Both teams’ starters are done for the night. The Sixers rolled out their five bench players from the first half (Melton, Milton, House, Niang, and Reed). We saw the usual dosage of Bball Paul energy during this stretch, getting two steals via aggressive double-teams.
  • Harrell, Matisse Thybulle, and Furkan Korkmaz all checked in for the first time halfway through the quarter. There has been a lot of talk about Thybulle’s refined shooting mechanics. His first corner three hit the side of the backboard.

Fourth quarter

  • Even with Shake Milton on the floor, it was still Furkan Korkmaz who initiated the offense, while Milton was mostly playing off the ball. Although this likely won’t have much of an impact on the regular rotation, it’s interesting to see these two continue this role change from last season.
  • Jaden Springer still looks a long ways away from being an NBA player, at least from an offensive standpoint.
  • Harrell and Reed shared the floor together late in the fourth, another indicator the Sixers are going to play around with their bigs this year. Letting Reed run loose at the four could be something that is very fun to watch this season.
  • Harrell looked good throughout the fourth, mainly because of his hustle and effort level for a preseason game. Most importantly, his go-ahead basket with just under 30 seconds left made sure this one wasn’t going to overtime.

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