Game Preview | Team Seeks Perfect Preseason

by Lauren Rosen

Game Preview | Team Seeks Perfect Preseason

With just one preseason outing remaining before opening night, Friday’s matchup with the Wizards represents a final chance for the 76ers to improve and gel before the games start to count.

After four decisive preseason wins, Brett Brown’s club seems ready to meet the challenges ahead.

“We’ve ramped up to a stage where, in the final preseason game, I’d like to play like I’m playing the Boston Celtics,” Brown said this week.

It’s been a successful preseason, to say the least.

The Sixers have assimilated new faces into their system, and have been stuffing the stat sheet in games. The team is already taking an exciting shape.

“They coexist well. They seem to enjoy each other’s company,” Brown said. “They have bought in, in a significant way, that we are a defensive-oriented team. We are long, we can be disruptive.”

Early returns would indicate just that. The Sixers’ 86.9 defensive rating is the lowest in the league. The group also leads the league in rebounds, 53.8, and blocks, 9.8, per preseason game. The team’s 11.0 steals per game is the third-best average in the league.

But as much as the Sixers are defense-oriented, the offense has looked good, too. 

“There has been an unselfishness on the offensive end… it’s quite actually organic,” Brown said Thursday.

That unselfishness has yielded 28.8 assists per game, and a league-best 1.67 assist to turnover ratio.

Not for nothing, off-court chemistry is ahead of the curve too. Al Horford shared Thursday that the team has made an extra effort to spend time together off the court, an initiative spearheaded by Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons.

“We’re going to watch movies together, we’re doing things together as a team, as a group, and that has been nice,” Horford said. “Those kind of things bring teams closer.”

Opponent Outlook

Thursday was a big day for the Wizards, as two-time All-Star Bradley Beal signed a multi-year extension with the club. Last season, Beal averaged career-highs in points (25.6), rebounds (5.0), and assists (5.5) per game. The Wizards are 2-2 in preseason play thus far.

 

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