It was a bad bad bad not good game. The next game against the Cavaliers showed that the Sixers aren’t nearly as bad as game 2 made us believe. They jumped out to a commanding lead early in second, and nearly forced Lebron to finish the game when they pulled it within 5 points with under a minute left. Jahlil was a beast, Nerlens put up 14 on over 50% shooting along with 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, Stauskas finished his Sixers debut with 15 including some nice plays, and TJ McConnell had 12 assists.
Look, I know it seems boring and aggravating that we’re only counting these moral victories, but for now it’s really all we have and tis the life of a Sixers fan. Here’s a short list of what you can take away that should make you happy: Nerlens is still getting his blocks/coming along as a defensive 4, his offense is improving, the point guard play improved marginally (a lot of McConnell’s assist came in garbage time but still) and most of all Jahlil bullied the Cavaliers big men. Big Jah had his way with whatever unfortunate Cavaliers player was stuck on him. Kevin Love has always been a defensive liability, but Tristan Thompson was apparently signed for his defense and rebounding and Mozgov is no slouch on that end either. Still none were a match for 2015’s third overall selection.
In my opinion it’s truly a shame that we only have a point guard who can shoot but can’t pass (Canaan) and a point guard who can pass but can’t shoot (McConnell). If the Sixers had proven talent at the point guard position, I have no doubt that Jahlil would have at least a combined 10 more points in his first 3 games even if it was just a mid to low level proven point guard on a one year deal. I have my fears that this may cause Jahlil to develop bad habits such as leaving good post position in order to get the ball at the top of the key, which is obviously not good position for a center, but I’ll wait and hope that Kendall Marshall can get back to the court sooner than later. It does go to show that Jahlil is that freaking good even without a consistent way to get the ball in good position.
Tonight’s matchup against the Bucks should be a good one. Jabari Parker, who will most likely be going against Nerlens on defense, will be playing his first game since tearing his ACL after a promising start to his rookie year. Giannis Antetokounmpo will attempt to kindle the already lit flames underneath his sneaker as he has come out of the gates of this young season on fire. Greg Monroe versus Jahlil Okafor is another match up to keep an eye on. Both centers can put the ball through the hoop at an elite level and lead their team in scoring but neither is much of a rim protector. As far as injuries, the Bucks will be missing Michael Carter Williams, John Henson, and OJ Mayo, while the Sixers will be down the usual cast of Wroten, Marshall, and Landry but also Robert Covington who resprained his MCL, the same injury that kept him out of the first couple games.
The Sixers are 8 ½ point underdogs tonight in Milwaukee. I’m tempted to say the Sixers will win outright (reserve the right to say I semi told you so if it happens) but without Robert Covington, they’ll need players to step up and score who haven’t done so this season. The Bucks big men just don’t scare me at all defensively, without John Henson. For the Sixers on defense, their teeny tiny little point guards won’t have to worry about being exposed by Mayo or Carter Williams which is a huge bonus given that it’s the sixers weakest position. Antetokounmpo will be curtailed by Sampson and Jerami Grant, two players who are young and experience lapses but are capable tall, lengthy, and quick defenders. And as I previously stated Monroe vs Okafor is the matchup to watch tonight and the winner of that may end up being the reason his team came away with a victory.
I’m taking the Sixers to cover the spread (and maybe just maybe [I also reserve the right to delete this if they get blown out] win outright). For now though, I’m definitely saying the Sixers will cover the spread.
Having said that, LETS GOOOOOO SIXERSSSSSSS!