In his first preseason game with the Sixers, Tobias Harris had a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Embiid led all players on the court with 27 points in just 18 minutes of play.
The how old is joel embiid is a question that has been asked for years. Joel Embiid’s first preseason game with the Sixers was an eventful one, as he scored 17 points in 19 minutes of play.
The Philadelphia 76ers, led by Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, returned to their home court on Thursday night with the goal of avenging their loss to the Toronto Raptors. When these teams met on Monday, things did not go their way, and the Sixers made sure they would not suffer a similar fate in front of their supporters.
In the end, the Sixers triumphed, and they did it in a dominating manner. There are several things to take away from the 125-113 victory, but one stands out above the others.
Some significant lineup changes contributed to the Sixers’ night and day performance on Thursday. Both Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris made their preseason debuts in the second meeting against the Raptors, after not suiting up on Monday. Their comeback bolstered not just the starting lineup, but also the second unit.
Doc Rivers was able to use his normal lineups and rotations with Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid back in the lineup. Andre Drummond and Georges Niang were utilized off the bench, which is how they will be used much of the season. Rivers lauded the second unit’s ability to work together during training camp, and Thursday’s game was proof of that.
The second unit played in perfect sync with the first on both sides of the floor. Despite the fact that there were two new pieces to incorporate, the bench lineup seemed to have been together for years.
Tyrese Maxey (14 points, five assists) and Georges Niang (14 points, five assists) were two of the best players off the bench (16 points, 4-7 3P). Isaiah Joe continued his outstanding performance from the preseason opener, scoring 15 points and hitting three of his four three-point tries.
The Sixers’ bench unit is already benefiting from the acquisitions of Drummond and Niang. What they bring to the table has given the attacking capabilities of that group a boost. Niang’s deadeye shooting has helped with space, while Drummond’s deceptive passing skills relieves the backcourt of facilitating pressure. Even though it’s still early, there’s a lot to appreciate about the way the bench unit has integrated so far.
The Sixers are preparing for the regular season sans Ben Simmons, as we all know. Replacing what he provides on a regular basis will be difficult, and it will require the whole team’s commitment. However, if the second unit can build on a strong preseason and training camp, it will be able to cover the void left by the three-time All-Star.
Four of the Sixers’ eight double-figure scorers came off the bench on Thursday. It’s absurd to believe that could happen every night, but anything that comes close is a step in the right direction. Rivers has been a part of a deep rotation all season, so they will almost likely get the opportunity.
Increased bench output not only compensates for Simmons’ absence, but also relieves Joel Embiid of some of his responsibilities. The main objective for this club is to get him into the playoffs healthy. They don’t want to put him under any more stress during the regular season because of Simmons’ absence.
Rivers still has some lineup choices to make, but he should be happy with how the second unit has progressed in such a short time.
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