And just like that, Philadelphia 76ers basketball is back.
Well, we watched it and you can read about who stood out here. I’m sure you were all watching. Not like there’s anything else going on in Philadelphia sports right now.
The Sixers traveled to TD Garden in Boston to take on the Celtics to open their preseason — but the visitors didn’t look exactly like the regular season squad probably will. Joel Embiid and James Harden both did not participate in the game, with De’Anthony Melton and Furkan Korkmaz (yeah, he’s still on the team) also out for the preseason tipoff.
Still, there were hints of the things head coach Nick Nurse has been working on in training camp like Tyrese Maxey being more aggressive on both ends of the court, Paul Reed shooting from beyond the arc, and more.
For being without Embiid and Harden, with the Celtics at full (preseason) strength, it wasn’t the worst effort out of Philadelphia. A lot of promising moments from younger players and the new recruits to take away from this one. The Sixers battled throughout, leading or trailing extremely closely throughout the entirety of this one, with the Celtics never leading by more than eight points. In the end, though, the Celtics put together a 12-2 run with just a few minutes remaining to help secure the win for Boston.
Anyway, it’s preseason. Go Birds, go Phils. Let’s get to the Bell Ringer.
Tyrese Maxey: 24 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
Maxey looked aggressive from the jump, putting his offseason hard work to practice immediately. He has been working on being a more active defender, especially on the perimeter, and it showed off early with a smooth steal, scoop and score with a foul for a three-point swing early in the first period. That aggression carried over to his offensive attitude as well, with Maxey pulling up for three after three without the slightest hesitation when the opportunities presented themselves, and taking advantage of every opening. He seemed to be using his speed like usual, but in a much more controlled, productive manner than when he was just free-flying with it.
Minus some foul trouble, Maxey just looked extremely comfortable throughout, in midseason form, sinking step-backs and fadeaways, finding space and consistently producing for the Sixers.
And produce, he certainly did. Maxey scored 13 of the Sixers’ first 17 points on 4-for-6 shooting in the first period. He was the only Sixer with double-digit points at the half, leading the team with 19. He finished with a team-leading 24 points (three triples) with four assists, four rebounds, a steal and a block.
Jaden Springer: 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
Another example of a youngster coming out of the gate looking confident and aggressive tonight was Springer. After hitting a three right after being subbed in, Springer took a following possession straight into and over Kristaps Porzingis to convert a tough contested layup. He finished the first half with seven points and two offensive rebounds in addition to some solid defense in six minutes of action.
His defensive efforts started to pay off on the stat sheet in the second half, with Springer snagging a steal and putting up a monster block on Jayson Tatum in the third period.
Down the other end of the court, Springer finished with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting (two triples) with two assists and four offensive rebounds.
Throughout this one, Springer just showed flashes of tremendous play for a younger player. If Nurse is using preseason to see who deserves a longer look headed into the regular season, Springer absolutely made the case for himself tonight.
Patrick Beverley: 12 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 “I’m ballin!”, 1 taunt
Honestly, this is mostly a nomination for the entertainment factor Pat Bev brought in this one, between sinking a shot and telling JJ Reddick he’s “ballin” and hitting Jaylen Brown with a “too small” taunt.
Beverley finished Sunday night with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting (two triples), one rebound and one assist.
It’s still up in the air how Pat Bev will do in the regular season for the Sixers, but, for tonight at least, he was extremely efficient and seemed to be enjoying himself the whole damn time.
Patrick Beverley: "I'm ballin' JJ!" pic.twitter.com/nhU8XbVCep— NBArepublic.com (@nba_republic) October 8, 2023
Patrick Beverley hit Jaylen Brown with the “too small” after scoring on him pic.twitter.com/e83qgNd3Bv— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 8, 2023
Sixers Bell Ringer: Who shined brightest for the Sixers in their preseason tipoff vs. the Celtics?
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