The vibes were positive for the Philadelphia 76ers heading into Friday night’s contest in New Orleans, as Tyrese Maxey made his long-awaited return from a fractured foot. Meanwhile, New Orleans was missing Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones, but those absences did not slow the Pelicans one bit. Led by a career-high 11 three-pointers from CJ McCollum for 42 points, and 36 points from Zion Williamson, New Orleans dropped the Sixers, 127-116.
In the last Talking About Podcast of 2022, Sean Kennedy and David Early discuss the loss. While you have to tip your hat to a red-hot McCollum and the force of nature that is Zion, what could the Sixers have done differently? First off, why is Doc Rivers continuing to roll out rotations that don’t include Joel Embiid or James Harden? Or at the very least, why is one rotation an all-bench unit plus Tyrese Maxey, who hadn’t played in over a month? Our hosts vent their frustration at how we could possibly be having this same exact conversation for yet another season.
On a positive note, Maxey tallied nine points in 19 minutes in his return. Sean and Dave discuss Tyrese looking like more or less his old self and the wisdom of the Sixers in finally easing a returning player back into action.
As for guys not being afforded a break, here was one description of how P.J. Tucker defended Zion Williamson tonight:
PJ Tucker is guarding Zion like a bag of bricks sitting in the middle of train tracks. Probably not going to derail it, but let’s just see what happens.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) December 31, 2022
While I think Tucker was the victim of a couple questionable whistles, he definitely let his frustration get the best of him in picking up a late technical foul after a clear hack on his part. With Tucker not slowing down Zion and a zero on the offensive end most nights while dealing with his ‘dead hand’ issue, we’re left with a version of the Office Space ‘What exactly would you say you do here?’ meme. Sean and Dave go into the necessity of P.J. getting some rest until this pinched nerve situation is healed.
Finally, our weekly segment is back: What the heck is up with the backup center situation?
Montrezl Harrell received the backup minutes tonight, and any situations where he was the back line of defense with Zion on the court reached comical proportions. It seems like we’re heading for the umpteenth year of Joel Embiid being eliminated from the playoffs in a game where he is a plus-eight in 43 minutes of play. Here’s Sean on the pod:
“I’m also of the opinion that the solution is probably not on the roster right now. But the conclusion I’ve reached to this point is that I’m not 100 percent sure whether or not Paul Reed could be the answer, but I’m 100 percent sure that Trez Harrell is not the answer.”
Finally, the guys close out the show with some New Year’s resolutions. We fully appreciate everyone listening throughout 2022, and look forward to more to come in 2023. Have a wonderful New Year’s!
Listen to the Talking About Podcast in full below:
Or through one of the following links: