7.6 Takeaways | Some Individual Notes
1. Something to build on
As the 76ers look to turn things around, Brett Brown knows exactly what his club needs to shore up.
In fact, despite losing Friday's overtime game at Oklahoma City, the Sixers did some good things. They turned in one of their strongest 3-point shooting nights of the year, connecting on a season-best 14 triples while sinking 43.8% of their attempts.
They also gave the ball away just 14 times.
Where did the Sixers trip up against the Thunder? From the free throw line.
They fouled OKC 41 times, a season-high, and were only 15 for 22 from the stripe themselves.
"It's a long year," Brown said. "I think that it doesn't take much for me to understand where we have to get better, and it's really that simple.
"I think our guys understand the areas that matter most that can best impact changing the way things are going to get back on the winning side."
The Sixers will look to do just that Sunday at Cleveland.
2. Marathon man
Ben Simmons' determination following Friday's intermission was darn impressive. He played every minute of the second half, then stayed on for the overtime period until he fouled out with 63 seconds to go.
From the third quarter until his evening came to an end, Simmons posted 12 points, five rebounds, and six assists.
"I just played," said SImmons. "I went to the hole, was being aggressive, and tried to make the right play every time - just being me."
He said teammates Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson told him to keep on playing with an aggressive, downhill approach.
Brett Brown didn't see Simmons fatiguing, so he didn't take him out.
"He has the ability to impact the game all over the place."
And in the latter stages of Friday's tilt, that's precisely what Simmons did.
3. A productive week
Since returning from what was essentially a two-and-a-half game from a right shoulder injury, Ben Simmons has been producing quality numbers.
This week, against Cleveland, Orlando, and Oklahoma City, the 2019 All-Star combined to average 16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and missed only 7 of his 29 (75.9%).
4. Bouncing back
It was a great sight indeed to see Tobias Harris smoothly knock down his first shot in Friday's game - a catch-and-shoot corner three.
The veteran notched 21 points against Oklahoma City, marking his fourth 20-point outing of the season. More noteworthy, he went 8 for 16 from the field, and 3 for 4 from outside the arc.
"For me, I felt today I was able to see the ball go in from three, that was big," said Harris. "I keep my mind right, keep myself ready, keep momentum up, and my confidence high and be ready to go."
As pleased as he was to personally perform well, Harris cares more about the overall state of the Sixers.
"The only thing really on my mind is to win. I want to win."
5. Bolden erupts
Before the 76ers left for their current three-game road trip, the team assigned Jonah Bolden to its G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.
The second-year Australian big man proceeded to tear things up Friday at the Long Island Nets, exploding for 34 points on 12 for 18 shooting. He sunk five 3-pointers, while adding nine rebounds and three steals.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 16, 2019
Bolden logged eight appearances with the Blue Coats last season. Previously, his highest scoring total at the G League level had been 28 points.
6. Then, there's that Shayok fellow
Marial Shayok added another superlative offensive showing to his brief yet promising G League career.
After going for 34 and 42 points, respectively, in the Blue Coats' first and second games of the season, the 2019 no. 54 pick put up a modest 29-spot in Friday's game.
29 PTS | 13 REB | 5 AST
— Delaware Blue Coats (@blue_coats) November 16, 2019
Shayok is shooting 48.7% from the field, 8 for 24 from three, and 85.0% (17-20) from the free throw line.
7. Assistant coach gets a ring
One more G-League related nugget…
Joseph Blair had quite the travel itinerary last weekend.
In between the finale of the 76ers' Western Conference road trip in Denver, and the club's return home last Sunday against Charlotte, the first-year assistant coach managed to fit in a trip to McAllen, Texas on Saturday.
What was happening in McAllen?
Well, he wasn't actually visiting McAllen. That's just where the nearest airport was to Edinburg, Texas, home of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The Vipers are the G League program of the Houston Rockets, and won the league title this past April. Blair was the head coach, and flew in for Rio Grande's ring ceremony.
He then left Texas just past five in the morning local time on Sunday. The Sixers tipped against the Hornets 13 hours later at The Center.
For Blair, the extra effort was well worth it.
"Obviously it was kind of a tough schedule," he said. "Just to see the people I've been missing and see the people that are part of creating history with me, it's a monumental occasion, something I'll carry with me forever."
Blair's biggest takeaway from his lone campaign leading the Vipers? The ingredients needed to foster a championship culture.
At the G League level especially, dynamics can be delicate. Individual development sometimes takes precedence over collective success, due to all the transactions that happen.
"Really most people don't know the G League," said Blair, who was an assistant in Rio Grande for three seasons before getting promoted. "We had 27 different players on our roster last year, quite a few call ups as well. You're losing your best player more or less every month, you're shifting new players in. It's an interesting experience playing in the G League and coaching in the G League and coaching in the G League, but it's a great learning experience. It really prepared me for everything I'm doing right now with the Sixers. I'm just so thankful for the opportunity."
7.1 Trust us. Do not miss the 76ers Crossover Art Exhibition presented by Reebok, which runs Saturday, November 16th through Tuesday, November 19th at the Fitler Club in Center City. Can't imagine many professional sports organizations have held an event like this before.
7.2 We certainly hope you didn't miss Furkan Korkmaz's encounter with a piece of Turkish taffy, which was apparently purchased for him by a 76ers assistant coach.
7.3 Good to see Shake Milton back with the 76ers after missing six games due to injury.
7.4 Check out the latest episode of The BroadCast, which profiles the friendship that Josh Richardson has developed with a local teen.
7.5 This week, the San Antonio Spurs retired Tony Parker's no. 9 jersey. Brett Brown, who in 12 years as a Spurs assistant became close with Parker, was one of many people from around the league who paid tribute to the iconic Frenchman.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 11, 2019
7.6 Our staff Photo of the Week comes courtesy of the great Maggie Zerbe. Here we see Joel Embiid pictured alongside the ball he moments earlier jammed through the net for a game-winning dunk in the 76ers' 98-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.