Jan. 14, 2017
Grading The Individual Performances In Tonight's Close Win Over New York
There's really nothing left to be said about tonight's win that wasn't said in our recap so without further ado, let's take a look at the individual performances from tonight's game.
First let's take a look at your hometown Seventy-Sixers, who yet again came back from a large deficit to win a close game after blowing an early lead.
Joel Embiid- Forget the stats from tonight. Forget the huge three he made late in the fourth to give the Sixers life again. Forget all of the huge plays. Just focus on the fact that Embiid did all of this on a sprained ankle. If you don't respect him for his toughness at this point, you're insane.
Nerlens Noel- Nerlens' performance tonight seems like it belongs in the "Great" category, right? Wrong. This is the bare minimum he can do. Others might have forgotten how great a player Nerlens is but I didn't, and I'm holding him to that standard.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot- Like Nerlens, I'm holding TLC to a higher standard because of the continued growth and progress he's shown on both ends. When he has the kind of offensive night he's capable of, he'll get into the "Great" category again. Same with Nerlens.
Robert Covington- Covington was absolutely huge in this game. He played excellent defense on Melo while being aggressive offensively the entire game and making excellent, unselfish passes in addition to hitting two huge threes that the Sixers flat out wouldn't have won without. I expect a lot more from him though, and you should too.
Ersan Ilyasova- Yet again, Ilyasova found a way to score and in big moments despite being thrown off all game by TJ's atrocious point guard play. Ersan also played his typical tough defense, was his usual unselfish self making excellent passes to set up teammates for easy scores, and yet again he did the little things to get the Sixers the win. That said, I expect a lot more from him offensively, and so should you.
Dario Saric- Dario struggled at times offensively but he played tough defense against some very good offensive players and didn't back down on either end. As great as Saric can be offensively, it'll be whether or not he can consistently defend the three that will determine his upside on this team. So far he has shown some great strides in this aspect, which is huge for his future with this team.
Gerald Henderson- If not for Henderson getting his points when he did, the Sixers probably don't win tonight. In addition to that, he played his usual very good all-around game and had to pick up Derrick Rose constantly because TJ didn't bother to guard him. He also showed great bounce offensively, with strong drives to the hoop, multiple dunk attempts, and just aggressiveness on the offensive end throughout the game. Bottom line is though that a healthy Henderson puts up at the very least seventeen a game for this team.
Sergio Rodriguez- Sergio did his best defensively. He was just no match for either of New York's top-flight scoring point guards. He also wasn't the same point guard he was earlier in the season. That said, Sergio was a big reason the Sixers got into a rhythm in this game offensively, and he made some huge passes.
Nik Stauskas- Stauskas really struggled shooting the ball tonight thanks to TJ's awful passing. However, he gave effort on defense -despite getting blown by on some plays-, made unselfish plays such as the perfectly-timed, laser-accurate pass down low from the perimeter for an easy layup that got Ersan going offensively when the defense was napping, and he hit one of the biggest threes of the night. Definitely not Nik's finest game but the Sixers never really put him in position to succeed, and he pretty much never played point guard tonight.
TJ McConnell- I'm really just sick and tired of writing about this kid. It's literally the exact same thing with him every single game. He's not worth my words at this point.
Now let's take a look at the visiting Knicks, who blew a huge lead by not moving the ball or being able to stop the Sixers from scoring in the paint.
Derrick Rose- Anybody who thought Rose couldn't ball was flat out made to look stupid tonight. Thanks to zero defensive effort by TJ and none of the other Sixers' guards being able to stay with him, Rose killed them all night and almost single-handedly won the game for the Knicks. He made the exact right play, drawing the defense and making a great pass through three Sixers help defenders to a wide-open Porzingis. KP just flat out airballed the three. Great game from a guy who really needed to quiet the haters tonight.
Kyle O'Quinn- O'Quinn had a double-double off the bench before halftime. 'Nuff said.
Carmelo Anthony- Some would argue that Melo's performance tonight belongs in the "Great" category because he was flat out almost unguardable but isn't this what he's supposed to do? Isn't this why he gets all the money and the praise and the adulation?
Brandon Jennings- Thanks to TJ not even bothering to try to guard him and none of the other Sixers' guards being able to stay with him, Jennings flat out ran wild on the Sixers tonight, penetrating the lane at will. This is all you can really ask of him as your backup.
Lance Thomas- Thomas made an impact, just not half of the impact he's capable of making.
There were some very solid to very good individual performances tonight from both teams, and both teams can take some positives away from this game . However, there were also some really bad performances by players on both teams who are very important to their future going forward, and both teams definitely seemed to regress tonight.
While the Sixers had some great games from some of their most important players, their other most important players looked spastic offensively and couldn't hot shots to save their lives as was the case with the team in general thanks to the atrocious point guard play of TJ McConnell.
It was one of those wins that comes at the cost of the development of the very players on whose shoulders the future of this team rests, and that is never a good thing.