” I was built for this city, and they were built for me”
– Joel Embiid
The Philadelphia 76ers are now at 4-0 after a win against the T-wolves. They start the season 4-0 for the first time since the 2000-2001 season. And we all know how that went.
This team really impressed tonight. The T-wolves came into tonight averaging 121 points in the first 3 games. And were held to 95 tonight. The story line is the same, and will be the same for the rest of the season, DEFENSE. The Wolves had no answer to the Sixers size and length. On both offense and defense.
Early on, it looked like the Sixers knew they could exploit the size difference, going to the post on offense almost every trip down the floor. On the defensive side, the Sixers size and length made everything hard on the Wolves, whether it was at the rim or or on the perimeter, the Sixers defense was once again suffocating.
Offensively the Sixers looked a little more smooth than we have seen. Ball movement was good, shooting was better 9-25 from 3 for 36%, but the game was won down low and in the paint. Tonight’s game was a true definition of Bully Ball Basketball.
Let’s look at some of the good.
Points in the Paint
Sixers outscored the T-Wolves 60 to 42 in the paint tonight. The key difference is they shot 56% as compared to 46% in the paint. They were getting to the basket at a high clip and finishing while on the other end, using the size advantage to make it incredibly difficult for the Wolves to finish.
Points off Turnovers
To me this is something to keep an eye on as we continue the season. With their defense and ability to get deflections and score, they should have a sizable advantage on other teams on the break off turnovers. Especially when Ben is in the game, off a live ball turnover in the open court, with his speed and vision, he is almost un-guardable. The Sixers forced the Wolves into 22 turnovers resulting in 29 points.
Defense off Turnovers
Brett talked about this in his post game press. He mentioned the “haunting” amount of turnovers the Sixers had. But was also quick to praise the defense they played off those turnovers. Sixers also had 22 turnovers, resulting in only 12 points. That’s pretty incredible when you think about it, especially because the offense has such an advantage in that position.
The offense seemed to really gel tonight. All five starters were in double digits with Embiid leading the way with 19. They shot the 3 well, 9-25 and a cool 36%, which is about what I’d expect to see more or less from this team going forward. But my favorite part was that they played Bully Ball. From the beginning then played hard and physical, went to the post and got to the rim. Minnesota really had no answer for majority of the game.
This is going to continue to be the theme. This team starts with their defense, and doesn’t quit. It seemed like they were everywhere, smothering the ball wherever it went. Everything Minnesota did seemed like it was a struggle. For a little in the 3rd quarter it seemed like Minnesota started to get a few easy buckets, cutting the lead to 12, but coming out of a time out Sixers clamped down and made life for the T-Wolves offense miserable.
This kid is impressive. I don’t have much really else to say. He is a hound or a pest or whatever cool word you would use to describe his defense. He is like a nat at a BBQ. In just his 4th professional game and he has 4 steals and 2 blocks. But what is even more impressive is that seems to be the norm for him. With experience and room to grow this kid is going to be a terror for opposing offensives.
Yup, I said it. Korkmaz in the the positive side! 17 points and a +8. Shot 3 of 8 from 3 and seemed to get into a little rhythm and build some confidence. Brett has been trying to grow a “bomber” and tonight was a glimpse of what Brett envisioned Kork to be. The Key for Korkmaz going forward is going to be consistency. I wouldn’t expect 17 out of him every night, but if he keeps his confidence up, and continues to gain experience hopefully he can turn into a decent contributor for this team off the bench. Tonight was his best regular season NBA game for him, so let’s hope he can build off of that.
So a couple Negative things to point out
22 is to much. Against a better team that number will hurt them. And that’s all I have to say about that.
I guess because of how physical the Sixers want to play we are seeing more foul calls. But some of them are really just frustrating. Charges and dumb unneeded fouls racked up and could be a problem for the team going forward. Although in my opinion there has been some iffy calls against the Sixers, but none the less, clean it up.
Overall it was a quality win against a lesser opponent for the Sixers. They imposed their will early, took off, and never looked back. The Wells Fargo was rocking, chanting MVP with Joel at the line, going nuts for a Ben Simmons dunk even though they were up 20 and the game was basically out of reach. The crowd never settled down, you really could feel the energy in the stadium from the fans. The hype is real with this team and the city knows it.
There was a fight. Of course I’m not going to forget about that. About half way through the 3rd Joel and KAT got a little tangled up, Joel shoved, KAT threw a punch and it went down because Embiid “ain’t no b**ch” ( he made that clear when he said that in his press conference). Honestly, I would venture to guess that KAT was a little frustrated with Joel. Joel basically had his way with him anytime he wanted. And KAT seemed to struggle offensively only getting 13 points in 20 minutes. It was physical pay from the beginning, and an overall dominate performance from Joel, the two combined may have had Town’s emotion running a little high. Both players were ejected, with I’m guessing suspensions to come. I wonder when KAT ran the Art Museum stairs if envisioned this.
The best part, in my opinion, was post fight. Embiid hyped up the crowd after the announcement of his ejection. Waving his hands up telling the crowd to get louder. Going over to Mike Scott and throwing some 1-2 air body blows. Hearing M-V-P being chanted as he walked down the tunnel.
He said “I was built for this city, and they were built for me”, and he isn’t wrong. This is Embiid’s town now and we are just living in it.