Pros and Cons: Sixers vs. Grizzlies
Late scratches are never fun.
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.
Riding high after their impressive primetime victory on Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors, the Sixers traveled to Memphis to take on the young, red-hot Grizzlies. Here’s what’s on my mind tonight:
Pro: Tyrese Maxey dazzles… how can the Sixers sustain this?
Maxey had a solid performance in the Golden State game, but for the most part, his offensive efficiency has been down recently. Entering tonight, Maxey was shooting just 37.2 percent from the field in his last 10 games.
Maxey scored 16 efficient points and dished out five assists tonight in the first half alone. From the start, he was effective in several ways: whether it was long-range jump-shooting, floaters, layups at the rim or free throws, he did everything you can ask of him.
This is more of an anecdotal point than a statistical one, but Maxey generally appears more assertive and effective offensively without Joel Embiid on the floor. Neither Maxey or Embiid are at fault for this, though -- when Embiid is on the floor, the offense should run through him.
When Embiid is off, though, Maxey is empowered to take control of the game in a way that few can do. Moving forward, I’d like to see Maxey and Embiid’s minutes staggered more than they currently are, and for Doc Rivers to make a point to utilize Maxey in a more aggressive fashion when Embiid is on the bench.
Con: Embiid gets a (very) late scratch
As I settled into my seat to watch the game, news broke that Embiid, with tip-off merely minutes away, would not play tonight due to rib soreness that has bothered him since the initial injury occurred last week against the Utah Jazz.
Embiid nursed the injury against Golden State, but played through it and looked like his normal self.
As we all know far too well, aggravating injuries can be disastrous. So I’m far from hitting the panic button here, and in the long-run, holding out Embiid is probably for the best -- even if it likely did the team in tonight. When a franchise cornerstone is hurt, we have to pay it some mind.
Con: Sixers defense craters without Embiid in blowout loss
After having their best defensive performance of the season against the Warriors, the Sixers came up flat tonight.
Embiid is the anchor they rely on defensively. With that being said, this was still a particularly poor showing on that end of the floor.
Give credit to a Grizzlies team that played very well, but this extends far beyond that. Without Embiid, the Sixers defense was suspect, to say the least. They couldn’t consistently stay in front of their assignments, failed to adequately protect the rim, and allowed Memphis to get out and run in transition far too often.
Per Cleaning The Glass, when Embiid is on the floor, the Sixers boast an impressive 105.4 Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). When Embiid sits, however, that number balloons to 112.5, a much more concerning number.