Against the Kings, Sixers still can’t find a way to close games

by Pepe

Man that was disappointing. It was bad enough that Jerry Colangelo joined Zumoff and Alaa in the broadcast booth to use every possible moment to erase the memory of Sam Hinkie. It was Orwellian-esque without a doubt to emphasize how the organization found these players, but to not name-drop a certain GM that found those players using analytics is reprehensible. But, as the game came into the final minute, it got a lot worse. The Sixers collapse was made even worse by the fact that I, and many other Sixers fans, stayed up til 1 AM to watch them blow a 6 point lead to a team that relies on 36 year old Zach Randolph to be their superstar. No disrespect to Z-BO, but they won 2 games going into yesterday. I mean, this team wasn’t even effective from the free-throw line in the last few minutes. Talented rookie (but inferior to Ben Simmons) De’Aaron Fox had back to back trips to the line in which he only made 2/4 free throws.

Regardless of whether or not Brett Brown should’ve called a timeout in the closing seconds, the Sixers just played very poorly. You can’t expect to win a game in the NBA by recording 17 total turnovers. Embiid, as great as he is, was rushing shots in the final two minutes. The shot that broke the camel’s back was when he was rejected by Willie Cauley Stein without about 28 seconds to go, when he just got a rebound and a fresh 24 seconds on the shot clock. I get that it would be better to take the easy two than to risk it at the free throw, but this was very much a contested two.

Let’s just hope the Sixers can learn from this game. There were a lot of great takeaways. In my mind, Robert Covington is an All-Star. I can not wait until the league snubs him just like they did Embiid for All Star last year and the way they did Dario Saric and Embiid for Rookie of the Year last year. He is the best three point shooter in the East, but if an organization can actually name Malcolm Brogdon (whoever that may be) as Rookie of the Year, I wouldn’t count on it. His defense has also come a long as he now deserves to be up there in consideration for Defensive Player of the Year alongside the Draymonds of the world. Secondly, it seems like Saric has gotten his groove back. After struggling a bit for the first few games, it seems like Saric is finally returning to the caliber of play that he demonstrated last year. Finally, Ben Simmons, in an off-night somewhat, still proved that he is by far the best rookie on the draft class when juxtaposed next to De’Aaron Fox. Fox is good, but Simmons is the best. His ability to create separation off the dribble and create opportunities is even more incredible when you consider that he never shoots three pointers. He has shot six 3-pointers this year and none of them have gone on, but teams still can’t find a way to prevent him from scoring once he goes to the hole.

In the end, you’d hope that the Sixers learn from this. Brett Brown is still a good coach, Joel Embiid is still the best center in the East and Ben Simmons is by far the best Rookie this year. Look for the Sixers to take all of there frustration out on the Warriors this Saturday. Calling it now, it will be an easy win…

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