Pros and Cons: Sixers vs. Nuggets
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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 Hospital Sixers continued their west coast swing tonight with a battle against reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Here’s what stood out to me:
Pro: Sixers backup center… Charles Bassey?!
The rookie Bassey was not someone I expected to be part of the rotation at any point this season. But he has gotten a few stints recently, and tonight’s minutes were his best.
Bassey certainly has physical traits that make him tantalizing as a prospect. His size and athleticism alone are impressive. But beyond just looking the part, he actually played the part tonight. Bassey was impactful as a rim protector, a shot-blocker, and a rim-runner.
In the first half alone, Bassey played nine minutes, blocked three shots, grabbed three rebounds, scored seven points on perfect shooting, and was a team-high +16. In the second half, he continued to shine, putting in a few big baskets for the Sixers as they made their big run.
I was initially confused as to why Bassey received minutes over Paul Reed, but credit to Doc Rivers for pushing the right button here. Bassey gave the Sixers great minutes tonight.
Pro: Excellent ball movement yields balanced offensive attack
With Joel Embiid sidelined, the Sixers have struggled offensively, especially in the half-court setting. Without their elite post-up player, they’ve lacked any sort of identity or mojo offensively.
Tonight, however, we saw things change. The Sixers had what was absolutely the best ball movement they have been able to show all season. Their passing, driving and kicking were all on point, and it led to their most balanced offensive performance of the year. Everyone who played contributed in one way or another, both in the starting unit and off the bench.
No single Sixer was particularly dominant on the offensive end, but everyone got in on the action. When you’re missing your superstar, that’s the best case scenario.
Pro: Sixers shut down Jokic in second half
That’s right, three pros and no cons tonight! This win, without Embiid, was so impressive that I genuinely could not find a genuine negative.
Jokic was unbelievable in the first half, scoring a whopping 27 points and doing so on just 12 field goal attempts. The second half, though, was a much different story. Jokic only scored three points in the second half, as the Sixers did a great job crowding him both on and off the ball. Jokic going off seemed like a certainty -- and even after a poor second half, he still scored 30 points -- but the Sixers slowing him down was one of the most impactful developments of the game, allowing them to make a huge run in the third and fourth quarters.