The Utah Jazz dropped the Sixers out of the water on Tuesday night and lost 120-85 in a game that was never so close. That marks five consecutive losses for the Sixers, whose good start has quickly waned in the wake of the bench-weighted round.
Here’s what I saw.
• In the sequel to Silver Linings Playbook starring Tyrese Maxey, the only guy you could be unequivocally positive about in the last week and a half. Yeah, he’s had his own defensive problems when teams off the floor are pushing the team, but it takes his back game to the back seat, even though the Sixers are reluctant to let him lead the show. .
In the early stages of these games, the Sixers have often asked him to play a more traditional scoring role, get the ball to the selected player in a certain set, and get out of the way. It feels pathetic, but that hasn’t stopped Maxey from finding his career or picking up his seats effectively, and he’s gradually taken control of the attack the deeper they get into the games.
One thing I’ve liked to see – Maxey started, faced opposition from an opponent’s defense, finds his open teammate, and then finds a way to stay involved in the game anyway, either as a pure middleman or as a moving target for his teammate. His three-point confidence and success rate are higher than ever before, and Maxey is turning that ranking and commitment into points on the board, and while it feels like a deck chair on the Titanic right now, it promises a good future.
• Rising, as I’ve been with Paul Reed lately, I didn’t hate Doc Rivers ’attempt to get rid of Utah to stretch them when Andre Drummond hit the bench. The Jazz have had big problems in the playoffs as the teams have played in five-out lineups and made it difficult for Rudy Gobert to solve all the problems on the edge, so it was worth trying the same approach in the regular season. . It’s double Hassan Whiteside, Gobert’s backup, which is much worse when trying to recover from those difficult places.
Honestly, that look was probably the best of the Philadelphia night, at least before this game went out of reach and the battle for defense with a small group leaving this unit. The Jazz had a hard time getting rid of the five shooters, and the Sixers actually managed to get stops by hitting or defending themselves from a few pick-and-rolls, putting pressure on the backball handlers and forcing some rounds in the process.
• Charles Bassey and Paul Reed weren’t that bad, but they also played only in insignificant minutes, except for Bassey’s brief burn at the start of the second quarter. It has everything I can put together in a good category.
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• The Sixers do not currently have at least the top three and most important defensive players. Even in the debilitated state of Danny Green, I would argue that they are missing the top four when he deals with thigh muscle tension. It would be hard for any team to drop so many important defenders into the lineup and stay on defense, but this group has been extremely poor in defense in the last two games and they need confirmation quickly.
It really isn’t that simple, but I don’t think there’s anyone in the current round who could be reliably expected to stop the drip. Many of the problems stem from this basic, fundamental problem, leaving guys like Andre Drummond constantly against two, and crashes follow. Out of the ball, alertness and execution have been as bad or worse, and Utah shooters bombarded all night.
A lot of attention has been paid to Philly’s transition defense, partly because it’s been horrible and partly because it’s a continuation of their offensive struggles, so the two themes fit together well. To take it a step further, oopponents find ways to score in the early hours even after a Sixers goal, punishing them with an early attack, rising to the floor at a pace, and attacking the Sixers with a basket. As Utah rolled early in Tuesday’s game, they were able to slow down the pace the Sixers began to build after the buckets made, tearing the floor another way and acquiring cheap guards like Donovan Mitchell.
It just can’t happen. I understand that this group is currently shortened and set, but after the baskets are made, defending is basically your reward for a good attack. This Sixers group cannot afford to give up the advantage with poor focus.
Rivers might have got them to hold on and fight last week, but they’re drowning right now. Dan Burke’s touch only lasts so far without top defenders holding things together. Fatigue is about to begin, and during the last couple of games, there will be a lot of shrugging and staring at teammates. They have to dig deep to get out of this tail, especially if Embiid stays away for a while longer.
• If I feel like I’ve picked a lot out of Andre Drummond lately, it’s because I’ve been and he deserves it. He’s been absolutely awful for most of the episode without Joel Embiid no matter what the numbers have said overnight. His awareness has been poor at both ends, his defensive decision-making has been terrible, and Drummond’s level of effort has dropped quite significantly. Maybe he’s just tired, but what he’s offering isn’t good enough.
To be honest with Drummond, Gobert is the real problem with the attack in pick and rolls, and the turnstile defenders on the Philadelphia floor aren’t improving the situation. Drummond is simply expected be Joel Embiid makes no sense at all. But when you watch him float slowly in the possession of the transition state, stand flat-footed as the mower passes by him, or reach for the passage that goes through Gobert’s wide dunk, you can’t blame the others. men for his mistakes.
No game condensed his night but one at the start of the third quarter, where Drummond slowly recovered from one of his better defensive goals, got to the floor to join the team in midfield and immediately traveled with the ball in an attempt to start the offense ring. Some evenings you just don’t have it, and this game qualifies for Drummond.
Doc Rivers also didn’t seem to be a big fan of Drummond’s approach to the game. In addition to Charles Bassey getting the first half minutes on Tuesday night, Rivers decided to just sit on Drummond’s bench for the last 10 minutes of the second quarter, apparently tired of his approach to the game. I can’t say I blame him, but given how brief the Sixers are at the moment, it was pretty shocking to see Rivers pull the plug anyway. Maybe Rivers will be a little more hostile to sedentary guys if they do worse this year, at least when they’re healthy enough to make a choice.
• You could probably give Tobias Harris a passport as he won’t leave much of an impact on this game as he returned to the lineup recently, but this claim is destroying himself given his first half in Indiana this weekend. Where does it leave us and Harris? Back to the familiar territory where we can admit that he looks like a valuable song in the full version of Sixers, but he struggles to make heavy lifts when they really need him as a “guy,” which is part of why he got it. paid a lot of money before through 2019-20.
The best way to describe Harris ’evening in Utah is anonymous. He didn’t shoot badly, he had a hard time protecting Gobert with small spherical gazes, he didn’t play selfishly, and he wasn’t the guy who drove the team off the cliff alone. But he is ill-equipped to steer them off that rock when he lacks a more talented star to play with. The night Harris shot the smaller Utah guards in the middle pole could have ended for him in better squares, but it probably wouldn’t have brought them that much closer to victory.
That’s how it goes. No need to hit this dead horse 300 times.
• There are perfectly normal reasons for Seth Curry to fall to Earth as a shooter, namely that Embiid makes his life a lot easier and that a recession was inevitable after a crazy start to the season. Explaining it doesn’t make it easier for Philly to embrace in an instant, nor does it comfort Curry, who longed for clear glances at Jazz, which he usually closes his eyes to.
I’m not sure if there’s much more to analyze here. Curry is getting to the same places in the midfield, gets a decent look at three at least part of the time, and hasn’t been completely squeezed out of the attack as a result of Maxey’s rise. Play and shoot better, would be my expert advice.
• Furkan Korkmaz tried to survive the recession by waving his forehead in Utah on Tuesday, and the results were the same as recently – pretty rough. While I admire his courage in front of Rudy Gobert of the Jazz Center, there were a number of fortunes in which Korkmaz’s bravery made him victorious, with Gobert either turning him away or forcing him to take a mindless shot. The corner became a balloon, a wild layup attempt in the first half, and not much good to talk about in the evening.
All the role players are relegated, or else they wouldn’t initially be role players, but it feels like Korkmaz has a special level of hot and cold. The only problem is that they have no one to replace his minutes right now unless they think handing them over to a 19-year-old beginner is a transfer.
• Shake Milton is happening too much at the moment. He was one of their most powerful offensive players, and it feels accused against the group rather than Milton’s praise.
• If you weren’t prepared to explode in this game, your expectations were exaggerated based on some of the competitive games last week with the shorthanded team. Jazz is a team that can bury full-fledged opponents easily while they are in the game, and they have a staff that will completely break up this Sixers group and pick up all the defensive items in their spare time.
While they’ve kind of made it work using rubber band, paper clips, and Elmer’s glue, Sixers simply don’t have good enough players right now. Embiid isn’t there to clean it up on defense and transport them in an attack, Simmons can’t take the perimeter or credibly switch across the lineup, so they’re given to a bunch of guys best suited to run. with stars do not make up for their absence.
(At some level, this is an indictment specifically against Tobias Harris, who has produced since returning to the lineup but does not have a team-unifying game that would be the focus in the absence of Embbi.)
This led Charles Barkley to assess Simmons’ situation at this half-time: “Already, man, the marriage is over, let it go.” While I disagree that switching Simmons to a few role-playing players is the way out of this mess, there will be more prompts from outside to get ahead and get reinforcements if Sixers ’tailspin continues.
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