The Sixers are back, haven't you missed them?
They kicked off their 2023 preseason with a 114-106 loss to the Boston Celtics behind 26 points from Payton Pritchard. While Joel Embiid, James Harden and De’Anthony Melton were inactive, Tyrese Maxey looked ready to go from the tip, putting up 24 points of his own, and Jaden Springer added 14 points, five boards, a steal and a block.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- Philly’s emphasis early looked to be pushing the ball up the floor — and quickly at that. This benefitted Tyrese Maxey of course, who put up 13 in the opening frame. Maxey’s aggressiveness was noticeable on both ends early.
- Paul Reed was also flying around everywhere early, but he also had a couple of moments where he was moving too fast. The three-pointer he took though was open and looked pretty good despite missing the mark. Easily the most fluid jumper we’ve seen from him so far.
- Payton Pritchard was feeling it today after signing a four-year extension with Boston. After a cold-shooting quarter for the Celtics, he wrapped things up by pulling up from nearly half-court, completing the and-one in the process, cutting the Sixers’ lead to nine after the first.
- Mo Bamba didn’t exactly look comfortable out there, but he’s definitely the type of big Tobias Harris prefers to work with in the pick-and-roll. They went to that nearly every time down the floor when Bamba checked in to get Harris in a rhythm.
- There was a good look at the new guys in the second, as Kelly Oubre Jr. finished the first half with six points on seven shots, but was able to get to the free throw line three times. Patrick Beverley was 3-of-3 in the half in a little over nine minutes of action.
- There were plenty of encouraging signs from Jaden Springer on the offensive end of the floor. He knocked down a straightaway three, was able to finish a layup over Kristaps Porzignis after getting blocked on his first attempt. He also had a slick pass under the basket to Paul Reed that should have been an and-one but Reed couldn’t finish. After a hot quarter from Boston the Sixers trailed by two at the break.
- Just as the first half ended, this one began with more highlights from Jaden Springer. He cut to the basket as Maxey was driving baseline for a wide open dunk. He completely stuffed Jayson Tatum on a dunk attempt as well.
- It was surprising to see how much Maxey played in the third quarter, given that his night probably could have been done at halftime. He still continued to dazzle, ending with 24 points on the night.
- David Duke Jr. was the first of the Exhibit-10 and two-ways to see the floor, checking in late in the third with Javonte Smart and Ricky Council IV following shortly after. Duke had a rough go of things in his first minutes as a Sixer, missing a layup and turning the ball over twice. Boston went ahead by one to end the quarter.
- Enough basketballs got stuck on top of the backboard tonight that Danuel House Jr. became the designated “go get the broom to get the ball down” guy.
- Of all the end of bench guys, it was Filip Petrusev who had the best minutes, though his six points on three shots and two assists were nothing to write home about. Terquavion Smith had a quick five points when he checked in but failed to get anything going after that.
- The Sixers will go right back at it against these Celtics Wednesday night for their second preseason game.