Carter-Williams Breaks Out With Triple-double; Grant Makes Debut
by Doug Ammon
When the Sixers’ leading scorer, Tony Wroten, went down with a right knee sprain that is expected to keep him out of action for at least a week, it meant that even more responsibility would fall on the shoulders of point guard Michael Carter-Williams.
The reigning Rookie of the Year missed the first seven games of the season as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery and made his season debut against the team Philadelphia faced again on Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks.
That first meeting was an ugly one, as Carter-Williams debut was spoiled by a lopsided 53-point loss in Dallas. On a personal level, Carter-Williams struggled through early rust to finish with 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, leading the team in each category.
But when the team’s met for their second of two games against one another this season, his performance was on a whole different level.
The game ended 110-103 in the Mavericks’ favor, but not before Carter-Williams was able to dish out a career-high 16 assists. In doing so, he joined Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, and Allen Iverson as the only Sixers to reach that mark since Dana Barros did so in a game in 1995.
“The guys were unbelievable. They were knocking down shots from midrange, from three-point range. They were finding open areas, and we were moving the ball well [as a team],” Carter-Williams said after the game.
Before this contest, the 23-year-old’s career high in assists was 13, a number he was one shy of with eight minutes left in the third quarter of Saturday’s game. He went on to finish the night with 18 points and 10 rebounds to complete his first triple-double of the 2014-15 season and his third as a pro.
“You look at what he did, and I’m so thrilled and happy for him,” said head coach Brett Brown after the game. “He fixed some of the things that we’d talked about and played a lot more under control. He had a hell of a game.
Jerami Grant Makes NBA Debut
Although the Sixers are 16 games into the NBA season, tonight was Jerami Grant’s first.
The 20-year-old missed all of the preseason and the first 15 games of the regular season after suffering a sprained ankle during training camp, but at the 2:34 minute mark of the first quarter, Grant made his professional debut in front of a rowdy home crowd. He played only three minutes but was able to show off some of his athletic prowess on the defensive end, swatting a J.J. Barea jump shot on Dallas’s final possession of the first frame.
Before the game, Coach Brown compared Grant’s physical profile to that of Kawhi Leonard, a budding star on the team Brown used to serve as an assistant, the San Antonio Spurs. Grant has put on twelve pounds of muscle and will be spending much of his time playing the power forward position because of the excess of small forwards on the roster.