Coat Check | 03.14.19
Each week, “Coat Check” will highlight the Delaware Blue Coats, the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Four games in six days. How busy was your week?
The Delaware Blue Coats (19-25) went 2-2 during this stretch, splitting a pair of road games as well as a pair of home games at 76ers Fieldhouse.
Last Friday’s 125-111 victory over the Capital City Go-Go (Washington Wizards) marked the return of 76ers two-way contract player Shake Milton.
After being sidelined for one month with a right hand injury, the 2018 second-round pick didn’t miss a beat, posting 31 points (8-15 fg, 2-4 3fg, 13-17 ft), seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals in 32 minutes in the win.
— Delaware Blue Coats (@blue_coats) March 9, 2019
Saturday then signaled the return of 76ers big man Amir Johnson to Wilmington.
The Sixers assigned Johnson, along with Justin Patton, to the Blue Coats for a match-up at 76ers Fieldhouse against the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons). In a game with a lot of whistles (45 fouls, 5 technical fouls), Grand Rapids escaped with a 120-115 win, despite Norvel Pelle’s huge game.
He recorded 22 points (10-14 fg, 2-4 ft), 18 rebounds, and seven blocks in 30 minutes.
Johnson finished with 13 points (5-7 fg, 1-2 3fg, 2-2 ft) and five rebounds in 23 minutes. The voluntary assignment was his second of the season.
“He didn’t have to do that,” Pelle said of Johnson, the 14-year NBA veteran. “For him to come down and show us, ‘Listen, I’m just here to play basketball,’ it means a lot to us. We look up to him, like that could be us.”
Monday resulted in an impressive 122-107 home win over the Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks). Pelle remained consistent with another monster performance: 21 points (10-14 fg, 1-2 ft) and a career-high 22 rebounds with six blocked shots in 38 minutes.
Jared Brownridge knocked down seven 3-point field goals in Monday’s game - something he’d do once again in a wild, wild (emphasis on wild) game Wednesday in Wisconsin.
That evening, the Blue Coats dropped a double overtime thriller to the Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks), 148-144. Delaware wing D.J. Hogg drained three triples in the final 20.6 seconds of regulation, including the buzzer beater that sent the game to its first extra session.
D.J. Hogg, reservation for 3.
— Delaware Blue Coats (@blue_coats) March 14, 2019
The Blue Coats’ 144 points were a season high. Milton scored a team-best 35 points (13-23 fg, 2-4 3fg, 7-10 ft) and dished out a career-high 13 assists.
Find the full recap of Wednesday’s game here.
In four games since returning to the Blue Coats, Milton has averaged 28.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 2.0 steals in 33.8 minutes per contest. The 6-6 Milton has scored at least 20 points in all but five of his 21 G League games this season. He has scored at least 30 points on seven occasions, doing so twice since rejoining the team.
Highsmith has scored in double figures in each of his past five G League appearances. His top performance in this most recent stretch came Monday night against the Knicks, when he posted 17 points (6-11 fg, 4-8 3fg, 1-2 ft), four rebounds, and three assists in 31 minutes. The undrafted rookie from Wheeling Jesuit has made 10 3-point field goals over the past four games. He leads all Blue Coats in steals this season with 43.
Head coach Connor Johnson, on 76ers two-way contract player Shake Milton:
“We’re coaching him to be an elite competitor. He’s a skilled player. He’s a tough player. He makes a lot of good plays. But I want him to be the most competitive guy on our team, who’s fighting for every single play, and we’re starting to see that from him.”
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Norvel Pelle (6-11, 230 LBS)
Last 7 Games: 19.0 PPG | 14.6 RPG | 4.3 BPG
Season: 33 GP | 10.9 PPG | 8.7 RPG | 3.0 BPG
Basketball Fact: His next blocked shot will be his 100th block of the season
Basketball Fact II: Has recorded seven straight double-doubles
Fun Fact: Pregame ritual is to clean and organize his entire house before heading to the arena
Pelle with the swat and stare against the Drive.
— Delaware Blue Coats (@blue_coats) March 10, 2019
The Blue Coats return to action Friday on the road against the Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls) at 8:00 PM ET. The team concludes another weekend back-to-back Saturday at home against the Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors) at 7:00 PM.
Saturday game at 76ers Fieldhouse is Heroes vs. Villains Night, featuring appearances from Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Darth Vader, and more. Postgame player autographs will be available to all fans.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit SIXERS.COM/BlueCoats.
Select photos courtesy of Wayne Terry