Instant Observations: Ricky Council IV Has Statement Game, Helps 76ers Snap Losing Streak

Instant Observations: Ricky Council IV Has Statement Game, Helps 76ers Snap Losing Streak Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Council IV made a statement, finishing with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds while helping the Philadelphia 76ers (31-21) snap their four-game losing streak. The Sixers defeated the Washington Wizards (9-43) 119-113 on Saturday night at the Capital One Arena.

Tyrese Maxey finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Buddy Hield added 23 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals. The Sixers remained heavily shorthanded. Joel Embiid (left knee meniscus procedure), De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine stress response), Nic Batum (left hamstring strain), Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) and Mo Bamba (right knee soreness) were all out of the lineup.

The Wizards were led in the loss by Tyus Jones, who finished with 25 points and nine assists. Deni Avdija added 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Isaiah Livers (right hip joint capsule inflammation) was the lone player out for the Wizards.

The Sixers’ next game is a road matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. Here are some instant observations from the win:

– Council IV, a two-way contract player who has been flourishing in the G League, continued his recent stretch of strong play for the Sixers. With the Sixers heavily undermanned, he played a significant role off the bench against the Wizards. The 22-year old excelled both as a driver and on the glass. He had a few nice finishes around the basket, including the one below where he made Jordan Poole look foolish.

Council IV’s athleticism is extremely evident from watching his play on the floor. Even as a rookie, he already possesses the necessary strength to finish through contact. With the Wizards trying to battle back late in the game, Council IV did all he could to end their hopes. He overpowered Washington on multiple occasions, whether on the glass or on shots around the rim.

The Sixers need to put strong consideration into signing Council to a standard contract. His play of late warrants it, or at minimum he needs to receive significant minutes on a nightly basis. His play against the Wizards was crucial to helping the Sixers snap their four-game losing streak.

– It has only been two games, but Hield’s versatility and impact to the Sixers’ offense has become immediately apparent. His elite outside shooting is well known, but he provides so much more than that. He has an underrated ability to finish around the basket, something which he showcased multiple times against the Wizards. Hield also brings constant movement to the Sixers offense, whether in transition or in the half-court. In addition to his scoring ability, he also is a capable creator. He should be able to take some pressure off of Maxey in terms of running the offense. There were a few possessions where Hield successfully operated the pick-and-roll with Paul Reed. The Sixers hit a home run by trading for Hield at the deadline.

Cam Payne, the Sixers’ other trade deadline acquisition, also had some good moments. He finished with six points and six assists off the bench. Many fans complained about the trade that brought Payne to Philadelphia. However, his play thus far has been impressive.

– It was not a pretty night scoring the ball for Maxey, although he eventually got the job done. He went scoreless in the opening quarter, missing all four of his attempts. The Wizards have an atrocious interior defense, especially after trading away Daniel Gafford. However, Maxey spent too much of the game attempting to force shots at the rim rather than letting the offense play out.

Maxey proceeded to show some signs of life throughout the second quarter. He knocked down a 3-pointer in addition to making a couple contested layups. His momentum carried over into the second half. As he has so often this season, Maxey flipped a switch in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 points in the final frame, beginning with a barrage of 3-pointers. As Washington adjusted to his success from beyond the arc, Maxey began to find more success driving the basket. Between Maxey’s dominance in the fourth quarter and some key plays from Council IV, the Sixers were able to fight off the Wizards’ attempt at getting back into the game.

– If the Sixers are going to survive the next few months without Embiid, they will need a much stronger performance than the one they received from Tobias Harris against the Wizards. He was a non-factor offensively, which is downright inexcusable against the porous Washington defense. Far too many possessions ended with Harris driving into the paint and wildly tossing up a layup that did not come close to going in. He has the tools to be a good scorer, but he has these clunker games far too often. The Sixers simply need more from him, especially with Embiid out of the lineup. Fortunately, they were able to overcome his brutal offensive performance against a lowly Wizards squad. They will not be able to get away with that type of performance against most other teams in the NBA.

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