Chandler Recognized for Key Contributions
There were several candidates worthy of ringing the 76ers’ locker room victory bell Friday following an impressive 117-111 victory at the Detroit Pistons.
Jimmy Butler not only went for another big scoring night (38 pts), but competed with an inspired defensive spirit throughout the game.
Ben Simmons (18 pts, 14 reb, 6 ast, 3 blk) was aggressive from the jump, providing leadership through his own determined two-way play.
And then there was Mike Muscala (18 pts), who stepped when his team needed quality production from the five spot.
But the player Brett Brown ultimately selected for the latest rendition of the Sixers’ post-game ritual was Wilson Chandler.
The veteran forward posted 10 points (4-5 fg, 2-3 3fg) and eight rebounds in 37 minutes; however, the statistic most telling of his influence on Friday’s game was his plus-23 rating.
Chandler was also tasked with the challenge of providing the bulk of the primary defensive coverage on Blake Griffin, who combined for 88 points in the first two meetings of the season between the Sixers and Pistons.
While Griffin finished Friday with 31 points, Chandler and the Sixers made the All-Star work, especially in the second half.
Griffin was forced to do most of his scoring from the foul line, where he converted 17 of a career-high 24 attempts.
“[Chandler] is an adult in the room,” Brown said. “He is a man, he’s been in the league for a while. There is a physicality I respect. He’s a prideful teammate. He’s always in a very sort of humble way wanting to please and fit in and do the right thing. I’m happy for him he had such an impact on this particular game.”
Friday was Chandler’s first ringing of the bell. He was acquired via a trade with Denver in the off-season.
“It meant a lot, Coach recognizing I was playing hard,” said Chandler, “but anybody could have rung the bell tonight. I was happy it was me.”
Publicly, the 31-year old Chandler projects a mostly even-keeled, steady demeanor.
Inside the locker room, though, he’s earned the respect of teammates by having a caring, upbeat personality.