Early in the 3rd quarter Ben Simmons walked off the court with what appeared to be a left leg injury. Headed into the locker room, followed by 76ers GM Elton Brand, it looked kind of scary there for a minute. After a few scary minutes, and an announcement that he would not return, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out that there was no swelling and no pain in his left knee, and all early indications are good signs.
However, when asked post-game Brett said he did not know and he is very curious to hear what the news is, with hope that an update will come at some point. Regardless of what the diagnosis is, I could see them sitting Ben, if non-serious, for a few games just in case.
As far as the game went, honestly it was fairly uneventful. The woeful Wizards hung around and made the game -nteresting, even taking a 4 point lead at times. But ultimately the 76ers prevailed on the back of another dominating performance by Joel Embiid. The superstar center tallied 30 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes.
Outside of Joel, I was most impressed with Shake Milton, who again had a solid game. 3 for 5 from three for 14 points is a solid game for the second-year guard, but for me, I was much more impressed with the 4 assists to 0 turnovers. Once Simmons had to leave the game, Shake was the ball handler down the stretch, combined with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris led the way for the Sixers to come away with a win.
Joel Embiid’s return to the play has been nothing short of dominant. Clearly the big man did not come to play around, and he is making an imprint on the game, looking like he has return to form of the dominant force we all remember him being. Throughout the season it had seemed like something was off with Joel, saying he wasn’t having fun, and at times not really the force he could be in games. That has all changed in the bubble, the slimmed-down 7’2″ big man is not playing around in the bubble averaging 32.7 points per game in 32.7 minutes per game. The Sixers are looking to get the big man to a point of playing upwards to 38 minutes per game come playoff time if Ben is healthy, Joel is dominating for 80% of the game, and Tobias continues to play well, this team may scare some people heading into the playoffs.
There are still a ton of questions surrounding the team, Simmons knee being a major one now along with coaching and defense has been less than comforting. The team has 5 more games before the playoffs start to figure it out, the team currently in the 6 seed, 1 game back of the Indiana Pacers who hold the tiebreaker. If the season were to end today they would take on the Boston Celtics in round 1. But it doesn’t and the Sixers could technically climb up the standings if they continue to win games.
The next game is Friday, August 7 vs Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic. It will be shown on NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus and TNT.
Just a quick thought: One thing to look forward going forward is who will be in the playoff rotation. Brett Brown said prior to the restart he was going to use 10 guys in the seeding games, and downsize to 9 come playoffs.
- Joel Embiid
- Shake Milton
- Ben Simmons (if healthy)
- Josh Richardson
- Tobias Harris
- Matisse Thybulle
- Furkan Korkmaz
- Al Horford
- Glenn Robinson III
- Alec Burks
Burks who has been used as a combo guard and a point guard hasn’t missed a 3 in a game yet shooting 3 for 3, 1 for 1, and 2 for 2 respectively. I haven’t been overall impressed with his passing ability, or lack thereof, he has a skill set that could be useful come useful in the playoffs. The ability to put the ball on the ground and get his own shot, and if he continues to shoot well, although on limited attempts, from three he really would make a case for playoff minutes. With Ben possibly missing some time going forward, Burks will have an opportunity to play much more. Just something to keep an eye on in these next 5 games.
ALSO BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED THE NEXT DAY OR TWO!! Our great 76ers writing staff at Last Out Media will be collaborating together to give you our Sixer player power ranking so far in the bubble! It’s going to be a can’t miss.