Dec. 04, 2016
Grading The Performances In The Sixers' Ugly Loss To The Orlando Magic
Pretty much everything that could be said about the game was said last night. The Sixers came out sluggish and out of rhythm, and the Magic absolutely lit them up on the other end en route to a blowout win coming off a back-to-back.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the performances of each player for both teams -minus the guys who only played single digit minutes.
First off is your hometown Sixers.
Ersan Ilyasova- I can't possibly overstate just how good Ersan was in this game. Ignore the stats because they really don't do his performance justice. Ersan did everything he always does and his first half offense was one of the only reasons they were even still in the game at the half. Most importantly, Ilyasova showed even more of the offensive game that he's started to show little by little this year for the first time since his first few years in Milwaukee. If Ersan ever consistently becomes that player again, look out.
Jahlil Okafor- Not only did Okafor have a huge block and show major fight at times defensively, he attacked the paint both as a scorer and rebounder. This is important because the more aggressive Jah is, the more unstoppable and unguardable he is offensively and the more of a problem he is down low. This is the Okafor we saw during his rookie year, and this is the guy the Sixers drafted as a franchise player in last year's draft.
Richuan Holmes- It was a typical performance from Holmes in the few minutes he got, playing with energy on both ends and just being solid overall.
Joel Embiid- Embiid really struggled driving and finishing around the hoop early and playing inside but his three point shooting was a big part of why the Sixers were still in the game early, and he played very well in every other facet of the game. Things like this are why Embiid impresses me. He could have gotten down on himself or pressed offensively but instead he played his game, was a strong rebounder, facilitated for his teammates and just found ways to impact the game in general.
Robert Covington- A solid game from Covington overall, doing the little things like rebounding, making hustle plays, setting up teammates and making the right play, and hitting two early threes that were part of the only reason the Sixers were still in this game at the half. Still, I expect a hell of a lot more of Covington. He's a prolific scorer who can drop 20-30 in a quarter and can be unstoppable when he drives to the hoop with purpose, and he can be a lockdown defender when he wants to be.
Sergio Rodriguez- Sergio really was in a funk offensively to begin the game but worst of all he was in a funk as a point guard. He got it together as the game went on and even hit some big shots but this can't happen again.
Gerald Henderson- Like Sergio, Henderson was majorly off early in the game but he did all the little things he does game in and game out and as the game went on was increasingly more impactful as a scorer and shooter when the Sixers needed it most.
Dario Saric- This definitely was not Saric's best game but he did all of the things you'd expect of him on the court even if his offense wasn't there last night. I expect a lot more of Dario but still a solid game in general.
Nik Stauskas- Stauskas had a solid game overall even though his offense wasn't quite up to par. He was a fantastic facilitator at the shooting guard position as usual, played deliberately with the ball in his hands, and even played decently at point guard late in the game. Not Nik's best game but like the others he didn't let his somewhat poor offensive game stop him from making an impact on the game.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot- As with every game this season, the story with TLC last night was incremental improvement. Probably the most important play he made was when he blocked a shot on one end, took the ball the length of the court, avoided a defender, and finished a difficult attempt near the basket. He has a ways to go on both ends but the Sixers hope that slow and steady wins the race for TLC.
Hollis Thompson- Let me start this off by saying that for the second straight game, Hollis had some defensive possessions that were very impressive where he played the fundamental tough defense he needs to play in order to be more than just a shooter and scorer off the bench. That said, Hollis started looking like the player who doesn't play deliberately as the game went on thanks to playing next to TJ, and he just can't let that happen. I expect a lot more of Hollis and so should you.
TJ McConnell- TJ played like TJ. He overdribbled, made bad passes, played zero defense, made at least one dirty play defensively, and he even injured Robert Covington. No idea how this kid is even in the NBA.
Now let's take a look at the Magic, who flat out lit up your hometown Sixers.
Serge Ibaka- Ibaka killed the Sixers on both ends, and along with Vucevic and Fournier was really the guy who put them away late. His three was a back-breaker, and he got hot as the Sixers were clawing back into the game.
Nikola Vucevic- Speaking of back-breaking, Vucevic was the biggest reason the Sixers were out of this game by the time the fourth quarter started. Nikola was his usual solid self, providing a solid presence down low on both ends, facilitating on the offensive end, and scoring in a variety of ways. Him and Fournier put the game away late with just killer basket after killer basket.
Jeff Green- Green was huge off the bench and really just unguardable at times. I knew he could be a mismatch problem for the Sixers, and that's exactly what happened.
Jodie Meeks- You really can't say enough about a guy who comes into a game for the first time this season and drops a very efficient nine points -including two timely threes- without dominating the ball or forcing anything. Great game from Jodie, though he's capable of a lot more.
Evan Fournier- Fournier did everything one would expect him to do for the Magic, and most importantly his offense absolutely killed the Sixers late. Aaron Gordon might have gotten the praise after this game but it was in reality the combination of Vucevic, Ibaka, and Fournier that won this game for Orlando. Solid game.
Aaron Gordon- A look at the stat sheet would make one think that Gordon's performance belongs in the "Great" category but in reality his offense wasn't all that impressive when it comes to when he was making his baskets, and I'm not going to heap praise on the fourth overall draft pick and a guy they built their offense around when he scores 20 points in a game.
DJ Augustin- Augustin did exactly what the starting point guard of the Magic needs to do on both ends and also hit some timely shots. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect of him.
Bismack Biyombo- Bismack had some offense in this game but where he made an impact is exactly where you'd expect: on the glass and in the paint. Biyombo was very much a presence down low for the whole game, and he and Vucevic really dominated the paint late.
Elfrid Payton- Payton had a quiet offensive night but still made an impact both with his speed and his playmaking. Definitely not what Payton is capable of but still a solid game from the former Sixers draft pick.
Conclusion: This wasn't the best game for many of the most important Sixers' players but there were more than a few positives to take away from this game -such as Ilyasova's continued improvement as well as that of TLC- and most importantly the team eventually got it right offensively. Bottom line though, the Sixers can't ever let this happen again.