Pros and Cons: Sixers vs. Magic
Where were you for the Mo Bamba Game?
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
The Sixers’ momentum was halted a bit on Monday afternoon when a poor effort resulted in a loss to the Washington Wizards. Tonight, they had a chance to rebound against a young and rebuilding Orlando Magic team. Here’s what’s on my mind tonight — you might know what’s coming first.
Pro: Joel Embiid enters the MVP conversation
What can you even say about Embiid at this point that hasn’t been said? He continues to thoroughly dominate any opposition that stands in his way. Tonight, he did so to the tune of 50 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, doing so on 17-23 shooting from the field and 15-17 shooting from the line — oh, and he did all of this in 27 minutes.
There is no limit to Embiid’s greatness right now. He’s made huge strides as a passer and playmaker this season. He’s bringing the ball up the floor routinely and just as frequently makes incredible plays.
Embiid is scoring the way he did last season -- putting up gaudy point totals with efficient shooting lines in nearly every single game. He is nearly unstoppable at this point, whether he posts his man up, takes him off the dribble or shoots right over the top of him. He exhibited his entire array of abilities tonight, in what was likely the best offensive performance of his career.
There are lots of incredible scorers in the NBA. But I can’t think of many who match Embiid’s all-around ability. Because it’s never been just about offense for Embiid -- since the very first minute of NBA basketball he played, Embiid has been a stalwart on the defensive end of the floor. And right now, his rim protection may look the best it ever has. It’s almost comical at this point -- opposing ball-handlers will enter the paint, see Embiid, and immediately scurry away.
Embiid absolutely terrifies the opposition in just about every way a player can. This is what an MVP looks like.
Con (are we sure?): The most hilarious performance I have ever seen
You never know what you’re going to get when you attend an NBA game. We all hope for highlight plays and big games. But nobody was prepared for what happened in the first half tonight.
Mo Bamba -- who entered the game making just 32.6 percent of his attempts from three-point range and 44.4 percent of his total shots -- had the best game of his life in one half alone.
Bamba had a legendary first half -- he scored 28 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished out two assists and blocked three shots. He did all of this while shooting 10-13 from the field, and 7-8 from three-point range. Yes, you read that right.
There are actual basketball reasons to discuss this: the Sixers have had trouble defending stretch big-men. This weakness was exploited to an extreme degree by the Magic, who definitely did their homework.
But let’s drop that for now. This was quite possibly the most absurd performance I have ever witnessed in person. It may have frustrated you, but it is objectively very, very funny. Who doesn’t like a good laugh?
Pro: Furkan Korkmaz on the rebound
Doc Rivers opted to pull Korkmaz from the starting lineup tonight and replace him with Charlie Brown, Jr. Korkmaz has struggled of late, and Brown Jr. gave them a more athletic, defense-oriented player.
But of all nights, tonight was the one when Korkmaz had a noticeable revival of sorts.
Korkmaz gave the Sixers a bit of everything -- he hit a few shots, but also chipped in in major ways elsewhere — he helped the team’s typically-poor rebounding by grabbing six boards, and as the backup point guard, he dished out five assists.
After a red-hot start to the year, Korkmaz has struggled for an extended period. It seems like he’s close to turning a corner, which would be a boon for a Sixers team in need of playmaking and shooting.