Three Normal Things: Sixers Vs. Rockets
Three Normal Things
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He has been legally banned from covering the team in person, and when that ban was set to be lifted, Covid-19 struck. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
Unlike most of the Houston Rockets, Three Normal Things is available to play tonight. Here’s what stood out to me tonight:
#1: Matisse Thybulle should make an All-Defense team
For someone who was one of the most hyped-up defensive prospects in a long time, who showed plenty of promising flashes in their rookie year, Matisse Thybulle’s defense remains absolutely perplexing, in the best way possible.
As of late, it feels like whenever Thybulle checks into a game, he already has multiple blocks and steals. His command of the fast-paced NBA environment as a perimeter defender is, dare I say, prodigious.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a second-year perimeter player be this excellent defensively. It almost causes me to laugh when he blocks shots on rear-end contests, picks pockets, deflects passes and creates the basketball version of a pick-six.
Despite being a reserve who plays very little compared to the usual candidates, Thybulle has been so incredibly productive that his candidacy for a spot on one of the All-Defense teams is entirely legitimate.
#2: Shake Milton giving more reason for optimism
Shake has struggled mightily during recent portions of the season. In his last seven games, however, his efficiency has seen an increase, though on lower volume.
Tonight, we saw the version of Shake that thrived last season and seemed like a 6th Man of the Year candidate early on this year.
You’d like to see a bit more creation for others from Shake, but that is somewhere that George Hill and Tyrese Maxey are going to be more assertive.
All in all, it was a nice Shake game -- and given the quality of play league-wide at this point of the season, that’s a positive I will gladly take.
#3: The Magic Number is 4
With tonight’s win, the Sixers are one step closer to the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. What does this mean? The Sixers clinch the top seed if between now and the end of the season, Sixers wins and Nets losses total at least four.
The Sixers have six games left, including three against tanking teams (Orlando twice, Detroit). It always felt like the Nets were on the verge of running away with things, but the Sixers are very close to pulling this off.
In all likelihood, the Eastern Conference will run through South Philly.