Missing all of Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey was once again not an impediment to victory for the Philadelphia 76ers, who defeated the Orlando Magic on the road, 107-99. The Sixers were led by Shake Milton, who secured his first career double-double and fell one rebound shy of a triple-double with 24 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists.
This week, Sean Kennedy is joined by Liberty Ballers’ Editor-in-Chief Paul Hudrick to discuss the win. Here’s Paul on Shake’ evolution as a passer that we’re seeing now that he has been pressed into an expanded role:
“The biggest thing that jumps out to me, you mentioned 10 assists, and that is the aspect of his game that while he struggled to me scoring the basketball, especially with his shot, the last year, the passing has evolved. He has become a much better passer. He’s reading so much better in the pick-and-roll. He’s finding guys on those skip passes in the corner. He had another couple really nice passes in the pocket to Montrezl Harrell tonight. He has just really improved. It’s a cliche, but the game has just really slowed down for him in that regard. He is seeing the floor so, so well.”
Tobias Harris also continued to step up with his fellow starters unavailable, asserting more of his on-ball game in the pick-and-roll and the post. Harris finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists Friday night against his former club. Paul spoke about Tobias’ ability to adapt to different roles for this Sixers team:
“Adjusting his role, this guy has done it more than any player I think I’ve ever covered. I feel like every year his role has looked a little different, and sometimes it’s changed mid-year like it did last year when, like you said, he became more of a three-and-D option with James Harden and really succeeded in that role and then in the playoffs...I think the biggest thing with Tobias is, he’s so good in mismatches. Whether it’s him using his speed against a bigger guy or playing the bully ball against the smaller guys, he is just really good when he gets that and the Sixers have been really good, I think, at finding them.”
We also discuss the trash-talking magic of Georges Niang, who was hot once again from the perimeter, nailing five of his seven three-point attempts for 18 points. Plus, the Sixers received solid contributions from both members of their center rotation in the second half. We finish off the pod by contemplating the funky Orlando Magic, who are nearly channeling the mid-2010s Sixers’ dream of an all-center lineup with four guys at least 6-foot-10 in the starting lineup. It doesn’t seem like it’s entirely viable given the issues with stopping dribble penetration, but it sure is intriguing.
Be sure to listen to this week’s episode of the Talking About Podcast in full below:
Or through one of the following links: