Sixers Steal 1st Win

By Chip Bayless (click Howie for more Chip





After starting the season a disappointing 0-3 and the “fire Doc” memes already surfacing, this year looked a little bleak for the 76ers there for a second to say the least.

Fortunately, the team was able to outscore the Pacers by 14 points on their way to their first win of this regular season in the wake of dominant performances from the Sixers’ studs.

Tobias Harris, James Harden, and Joel Embiid all finished with at least five rebounds, two assists, and 18 points. The trio combined for 73 points, 15 assists, and 22 boards.

Harden’s performance made him just the second player in team history to with at least 100 points, 30 rebounds, and 30 assists through the first four games of a season (joins Charles Barkley, 1986-87).

So far this season, James Harden is averaging:

  • 26.8 PPG
  • 8.5 RPG
  • 9.8 APG
  • 63.3 TS%

He also leads Sixers in +/-.

Harden was masterful in the Sixers’ first win, often turning back the clock to show the confidence and athleticism of old with leaping dunks, creative passes, and non-stop scoring,

Harden had boundless impressive moments, but his behind-the-back pass that resulted in a quick Niang three around the 3:20 mark in the 1st quarter in particular was a thing of beauty, and was a play that set the tone in terms of confidence and decision-making for the rest of the team throughout the night.

Harden’s blatant dominance aside, the entire squad put up an impressive performance for an all-around team win.

It was promising to see the 76ers spread the floor with a willingness to pull up from three-point range (43 3-point attempts on the night), Joel Embiid had 26 points of his own on 8-of-13 shooting, and the struggling bench stepped up with George Niang’s 16 points combining with DeAnthony Melton’s 11 to bring home the win.

Embiid plowed through defenders inside the lane, Tobias Harris did a little of everything, and Harden managed the offense to near perfection – a recipe that combined with defense will be what the 76ers need for a deep playoff run.

Much like Harden’s scoring and passing, Embiid’s trademark post-play was on display all night. He used his body and positioning to accumulate impressive blocks, dunks, and rebounds that resulted in contagious energy amongst his counterparts.

Unfortunately though, the Sixers will need to turn it around drastically in a few areas to compete with this year’s crop of playoff-worthy teams.

Today, the Sixers are last in rebounds per game, first in turnovers per game, second in fouls per game, and have scored the 6th-least points in the NBA.

While the team certainly has the collection of talent it takes for a turnaround, they’ll need to make that turnaround quick and significant, as I doubt any team has ever made the playoffs averaging the least rebounds and most turnovers per game.


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