We Beat the Celtics on Opening Night

It’s been something like 5 years since the 76ers won a season opener. And we beat the Al Horford less Celtics. That’s right Boston fans, he’s ours now.

So on to the game. Some quick key observations before I dive in deeper.

Positives

  • Benjamin freaking Simmons
  • DEFENSE
  • Sixers got some dawgs this season
  • Extending and maintaining a lead with Joel not playing the last 10 minutes

Negatives

  • Shooting
  • Sloppy play
  • Maybe the Celtics aren’t as good as we originally thought

A little pre-cursor. Think this applies to a lot of teams this year.

U can tell it’s the beginning of the season. Even yesterday. A lot of mistakes and looks like everyone’s timing is off. Like their not used to game speed

My buddy (Lakers fan Boooo lol) texted me this about 930 last night. And I was just thinking the same thing when he texted me.

The game really did feel sloppy. And the first nights games too. With the amount of roster turnover and guys seemingly playing less minutes in the preseason, it’s really to be even more expected. But good news is the Sixers seemed to worked some kinks out in the first half and the 3rd quarter we saw exactly what they can be, if not even better.

Let’s get the negative out of the way!

Poor Shooting

Get used to this. The narrative right now is that one of the Sixers flaws is that they don’t have that sniper, the one JJ Reddick was. Well that’s true but not many teams have him. What they do have is a couple good shooters that can get hot and be really good shooters here and there throughout the season. The goal is hopefully one of them get hot if the other one’s are cold. With the Sixers defense they will be able to withstand guys’ cold streaks.

A stat to look out for. Last season (with JJ) the Sixers about 30 3s per game. Tonight (without JJ) they shot 29. At a 24% clip. Going forward I wonder if the amount of 3s go down. I actually don’t think they will drastically, but I do not believe they will shoot 24% often. My guess more around 33% give or take.

Sloppy Play/Turn overs

See above for sloppy play/timing analysis.

Turnovers. New year. Same shit. Get used to it. The offense they run and they pace they run it is going to result in turnovers. Defense this year should help it not look so bad though. The ones that hurt the most, and the ones I think they will cut down on are when Ben every once in a while has a lapse and throws a lazy pass that is picked off. I think it happened maybe twice last night. And Joel turning the ball over out of a double team, but that is easily corrected as I’ll explain later.

The Celtics

Not much makes me happy than beating up on the Celtics. But this time seemed a little different. The Celtics look bad. Some of it can be due to the Sixers defense, but they shot free throws horribly, made a bunch of dumb fouls, and really just looked like a team without an identity. Maybe they aren’t as good as we may have thought they would be this year. Losing guys like Kyrie and Al will do that. Again it’s the first game so we will see, but it’s pretty clear talent wise the Sixers are head and shoulders above them.

Before we get into the Positive take aspects, I want to try and break down some stuff I saw yesterday with Joel Embiid.

Joel Embiid. He is going to face a ton of double teams this year. My guess is defensive plans against the Sixers will be to double Joel, pack the paint, and let guys shoot. But you’ll see they wont deny Joel the ball, they are going to want him to get it then send the double. It’s easily beat able if Embiid can see it early enough and make a quick decision.

So here we see how teams will most likely double Joel. No deny, allow him to get the ball and then the double comes like 2 seconds or so later.  You can kind of tell that Joel wasn’t ready to decide what he wanted to do yet. Unless he makes a quick move, that double is going to bother him, which leads into a deflected pass and almost turnover.

If you watch here, it’s the same type of delayed double, with the original passers man coming to Joel after like 2 seconds. Well it probably should have been 2 seconds, it seemed as if Smart came to double late. But Embiid gets the foul drawn because he was able to start his move before the double came. If Joel, going forward can make a quick move and beat the delayed double I think we will see more of this type of outcome.

Over all when Embiid makes quick decisions and quick moves he is almost unstoppable.

Here we can see Joel know exactly what he wants to do. Caught the ball made a move and attack the rim. There was nothing that Kanter could do.

This play is more about Ben’s seal rather than Joel’s pass. But I liked to see it because Joel knew exactly what he wanted to do, probably before he even got the pass, and made a quick good pass for an easy bucket. There was no time for Tobias’ defender to come double after Joel got the ball, if that’s was a plan that the Celtics wanted to do here.

Joel definitely has the ability to learn. And he shows very high basketball IQ at times. Since he came into the league, he has gotten significantly better against double teams. Hopefully that is a trend that continues, and as everyone settles in and starts playing more throughout the season, hopefully we see a much more improved Joel against double teams.

Now let’s hit some positives that came out of last night.

DE-FENSE 

The defense was suffocated. Brett Brown really has these guys buying into defense and it is going to be their identity. Even Tobias who is the worse defender on the on the starting 5 played better defense than I expected out of him. The Celtics were never a great scoring team, and they shot badly, but if you ask me Philly should take 75% of the credit for their defense, and Celtics should take 15% blame for poor shooting. The other 10% we will give to the fans and home court advantage, because last night was rocking like a playoff game. And strap in because it’s going to be like that all season.

This should be this team’s identity all year. They are going to be one the best teams in the league at creating offense off their defense. This was a perfect example. And that’s Tobias getting out and running, Ben is 10-15x better than him at that. Just wait and see.

The Dawgs are out

I love Roco and Dario and JJ. But when it came to the Celtics, they got bullied. Even Ben as a younger player. It was something about the Celtics that seemed to just make these guys soft like Frosty’s. But this group, these guys weren’t getting picked on last night. JRICH my man, emotion, no fear, playing hard nose defense. Getting all up in Marcus Smart’s shit.  Kemba had now answer. Thybulle in his first ever game, wasn’t backing down from anything. And we all saw Ben impose his will on this team. Hell, even Furkan went chest to chest with Kemba and took a charge and created a turnover. 

Center Depth

Joel Embiid picked up his 5th foul with like 1030 left in the 4th. Sixers we up maybe 8. He didn’t play again and they won by 14. Not many times in recent years can we say that has happened. Especially not against the Celtics or a good team. This team is built to survive when Joel goes on the bench. Horford and KOQ are both huge upgrades from last years centers, and can easily hold down the fort while Joel is on the bench. Give credit to guys like Richardson and Thybulle too, who can D up the opposing point guard and not be so reliant on Joel’s rim protection.

FINALLY BENJAMIN SIMMONS

Good things happened when he is on the court. And he balled out. He knew from the beginning that if he were to attack the rim, no one can stop him.

He is too fast and too athletic when he get’s out and runs it’s is going to be really hard to stop him. The Sixers are going to force a lot of missed shots, and Ben can really put a strangle hold on teams if he continues to push the pace and attack off the defensive glass.

The Sixers are 1-0. And the Celtics may not be that good. There is 81 games left. But I am very encouraged about what I saw last night. I am hoping shooting will come. They will never be the Warriors, but no one has. Teams that tried to copy them haven’t done so well. So maybe this is what is needed. A little change of pace for the NBA. Strap in, because it’s going to be a wild season.

10 9 8 76ers!!!!! LFG

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