Ben Simmons Ties Career-High As Sixers Top Nets

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers took their three-game winning streak into the Barclays Center where they would take on the Nets as part of the Martin Luther King day quadruple-header. This was a very back and forth game, but thanks to some big plays late the Sixers were able to pull it out. With their 117-111 victory, they have now extended their winning streak to four games.

Ben Simmons was the story of this game. Although he has been on a great run in the team’s recent stretch, he kicked into a new gear in this game. 

He tied his career-high in points in this game with 34 points.  Along with his huge scoring barrage he also posted 12 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals, and two blocks en route to his fourth triple-double on the year. 

Simmons left his mark all over this game on both ends of the ball. He provided a huge spark and was a great leader on the floor. 

Al Horford also was very big in this game after he was almost scratched from the lineup. He finished the afternoon with 19 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two huge blocks late in the game to help seal the victory. 

The Sixers also got a boost from the bench in this game. Furkan Korkmaz posted 10 points and had a big three in the final minutes to hold off the Nets. Mike Scott also had a much needed nice game. He knocked down a pair of threes and was very active on the glass. He finished with eight points and eight rebounds. 

Defense won the game for the Sixers today. Heading into the fourth quarter the Sixers looked very out of it and looked like they were ready to mail the game in. But in those final 12 minutes, they flipped the switch on defense and shook the Nets. They posted in 12 steals in the game and forced the Nets into 22 turnovers. 

The Sixers are gaining a lot of momentum on this run, and they are going to need it. They will be back in action on Wednesday as they will head north to face the defending champion Toronto Raptors. 


Tobias Harris Comes Up Big Late As Sixers Top Knicks

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

After taking care of the Bulls on Friday night, the Sixers went right on the road to travel to New York to face the Knicks. Even though the Sixers have been a subpar team on the road, they got it done tonight and squeaked out a 90-87 victory. 

The Sixers are now riding the high of a three-game win streak. This recent stint now has them just one game out of the third seed in the conference, and two and a half games out of the second seed.

This game was a lot closer than people would have liked. Although the Sixers looked in the driver's seat for most of the game, they could just never put together a good run to pull away and take full control of the contest. 

Tobias Harris was the star of the night. He only finished with 15 points in the game, but he hit the biggest shot of the night. After Marcus Morris knocked down an elbow jumper to put the Knicks up in the closing moments, Harris came down on the next possession and hit a huge three to close out the game for the Sixers. 

Josh Richardson might have had the best all-around game for the Sixers. He finished the night with 18 points, three rebounds, four rebounds, two steals, and one block. On top of that, he was the go-to option early in the fourth quarter on offense and kept the game close. 

After having a career night on Friday against the Bulls, Furkan Korkmaz stayed hot in the garden. He followed up his 24 point night with a 17 point night off the bench and shot 3/7 from beyond. 

Ben Simmons also kept his All-Star campaign going. When all was said and done he had 21 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. 

This win was not a pretty win, but the Sixers can take any kind of win they can get on the road. They are back in action on Monday for the MLK sleight as they face off against the Brooklyn Nets. 

 


Sixers Top Bulls Behind Career Night From Furkan Korkmaz

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Friday night the Sixers were back in action at home looking to continue their dominance at home against the Bulls. Although the game was back in forth in the first half, the Sixers would pull away in the third quarter with the help of an unlikely hero.

When all was said and done, the Sixers walked away with a 100-89 victory and improved to 20-2 at home on the year.

Furkan Korkmaz was the story of the night. After being somewhat quiet in the first half, he came out after halftime and tried to shoot the lights out. He would erupt for 14 points in the third quarter and almost couldn’t miss from three. Korkmaz ended the game shooting 6/9 from beyond and posted a new career-high in points with 24. 

Al Horford also had a good night at the office. He finished the game with 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists. On top of that, he also shot the ball effectively, making eight of his 14 shots. This was a nice bounce-back game from Horford and hopefully, he can keep it up while Joel Embiid finishes his rehab. 

Ben Simmons came out tonight and showed why he should not be left off the All-Star team this year. He flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. 

Simmons also put on a nice highlight reel with a handful of crowd erupting dunks. Including posterizing Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen on a fastbreak. 

Some other nice stats from tonight include the Sixers not leaving any points at the free-throw line as the team made all 11 of their attempts in the game. Passing was also contagious tonight as the Sixers finished the game with 30 assists on 40 made field goals. 

The Sixers will have a quick turnaround this weekend, as they are back in action on Saturday. They will head to New York to face off against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.

 


Is Tobias Harris Being Overlooked for All-Star Consideration?

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

We are weeks away from NBA All-Star weekend, and the fan voting for the starters is approaching its end. After the latest voting results were released, Joel Embiid sits in third for frontcourt voting and Ben Simmons sits in eighth place for guards. 

Meanwhile, Tobias Harris’ name is nowhere to be found among the other top names at his position in the conference. This begs the question, is Tobias Harris being overlooked in All-Star voting right now?

Some of the other names at the top of voting polls right now include the Heat’s Jimmy Butler, and Celtics' Forwards Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward. All three are good players in their own right, but Harris is having arguably just as good of a season if not better than these players. 

2019-2020 Statistics 

Tobias Harris: 42 G, 19.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 48.7 FG%, 35.9 FG3%

 

Jimmy Butler: 35 G, 20.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 6.4 APG, 44.5 FG%, 26.9 FG3%

Jayson Tatum: 38 G, 21.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.8 APG, 42.9 FG%, 36.1 FG3%

Gordon Hayward: 23 G, 16.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 53.1 FG%, 37.5 FG3%

What sticks out the most is that Tobias has logged more games than the others around him. Along with him playing more games, he has also yet to miss a game while the others have all missed time. Hayward has missed 16 games for the Celtics but yet is drawing more votes than Harris. 

Although the voting right now is only fan voting, these players are going to be in the mix for the reserves spots as well.

Tobias Harris has been a fringe All-Star player for years now, but could this be the year where he finally gets his due? His campaign so far this season should have him at least in the conversation.

Not only has he played in every game, but he has been a big part of the Sixers’ offense on a nightly basis. He has also closed out multiple games this season. Along with improving his game on the defensive end and really becoming a two-way player.

Although I feel Harris should get his first career All-Star nomination this year, it is going to be tough. Sadly the Sixers have not had the start of the year that they would hope for. Currently sitting on the outside of the top three of the conference, it would be very shocking if they were given three All-Stars. 

It would also be very unlikely if Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are left off the All-Star team, making Harris chances even slimmer. 

Whether Harris actually gets the nod or is snubbed again could go either way. He is just as good or if not better than the players at his position around him. Which makes it clear that he is being overlooked in the All-Star talk. 


Should Jonah Bolden Get Some Time With the Sixers?

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer/Editor

With Joel Embiid missing time due to injury the Sixers have been presented an interesting opportunity, Brett Brown can try some new and interesting lineups. So far we have not seen anything crazy other than Ben Simmons playing backup center against the Celtics, but should he try more?

One interesting thing Brown should consider is going deeper down the bench with more minutes available. A player in particular, would be a guy like Jonah Bolden. We have seen almost nothing of Bolden this season, and that should change. 

In his time with the Blue Coats this season, Bolden is currently averaging 11.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, and is shooting 36.2% from three. He has sat at the end of the bench all season and there is an argument that the team could use his skill-set right now.

Mike Scott has been one of the streakiest players on the team this season. He is averaging just six points on the year, and in January he is only shooting 28% from deep. Scott’s role off the bench is to be able to come in and be a big that can knock down shots from three, but when he is not hitting them he is almost hurting more than he is helping. 

This begs the question, should the Sixers consider giving Bolden some of Scott’s time in the rotation? They have almost identical play-styles, so the Sixers would not be losing much in giving Bolden some time to see what he could do with some consistent minutes. 

Giving Bolden some time could be more positive than negative. Mike Scott taking a couple of days off could help him refresh and come back to come out of his cold spell. Not to mention with Embiid out this team has been playing at a faster pace, so going with the younger and fresher Bolden might be a better fit with how the team is playing right now. 

Another possible outcome of this is creating value. As we know the NBA trade season is upon us. With that being said, the Sixers are in the market for upgrading their bench to be deeper for the playoffs. 

Sadly the Sixers do not have a first-round pick to deal, so they will be moving players. Giving Bolden some time on the court could allow other teams a chance to see what he can do on an NBA court, and possibly increase his trade value. Not to mention getting Mike Scott off the court during his cold spell will help keep his value around where it should be.

Bolden is young, and still has a few years left on his contract. Seeing what he can do on an NBA court could help entice a team like the Sacramento Kings who are young and play fast. Bolden could potentially become a piece in a package to acquire Bogdan Bogdanovic, who the Sixers have inquired about. 

All in all, I think that Brett should seriously consider playing Jonah. There is honestly no risk in playing him, as he can’t be much worse than how Mike Scott has been shooting the ball as of late. Not to mention, potentially upping his trade value could be huge as the Sixers look to start making moves. 


Should the Sixers Adjust the Starting Lineup?

We are a little under halfway through the NBA regular season, which has given us a decent sample size for teams and how they should adjust. Right now the biggest adjustment for the Sixers is adding to the bench. 

The second unit is in dire need of a scoring guard off the bench who can create their own shot, and be able to facilitate. But could there be another adjustment that this team should make?

The starting lineup for the Sixers has been very polarizing against certain opponents. With that being said, should Brett Brown considering making adjustments to the starting five?

Four of the starters are locks, but there is one tweak that could be made. I think that the fifth started should be different based on the opponent.

In the offseason, the Sixers doubled down on creating a long and large starting five. Which has shown to be a good move as the size seemed to be too much for Giannis and the Bucks, who are the main team in the Sixers’ way of representing the Eastern Conference in the finals this season. 

There have been games where this team has struggled partially due to the personnel and size of the starting five. Which is why changing the starting five at times could help with this group.

When the Sixers are facing a smaller team who likes to play fast, Furkan Korkmaz should be the fifth starter over Al Horford. Tobias Harris can slide to the power forward position and Furkan could be a floor-spacing wing alongside Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson.

Sliding Korkmaz into the starting lineup would help with three-point shooting, would give Joel Embiid more room to work in the paint, and would open the lane more for Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson to attack. 

Al Horford could also run the second unit, which has struggled at times. Horford could be the guy that can go get a bucket when the bench needs it, and he could also facilitate the offense when surrounded with shooters like James Ennis, Matisse Thybulle (when back from injury), Mike Scott, and Trey Burke. 

We saw on Christmas day that Al Horford is going to be valuable for this team moving forward, but there have been times where he has struggled with this starting lineup. Which is why Brett should consider adjusting the lineup based on the opponent for the rest of the regular season.


Sixers Shine in Christmas Showcase Versus the Bucks

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

This Christmas the Sixers delivered a huge gift to all of their fans, a win against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. In a match-up that had conference finals implications, the Sixers reminded everyone how dominant they could be. When the final buzzer sounded the Sixers had handed the Bucks their fifth loss of the season by a final score of 121-109.

A lot of eyes were on this game as it featured the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. People also wanted to see if the massive size of the Sixers would be able to slow down the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo and it is safe to say they did just that. 

The Sixers threw multiple different looks at the Greek freak in an attempt to keep him guessing and it worked nicely. Giannis finished the game with just 18 points and shot 8-27 from the field, including 0-7 from three-point range. 

On the other end, Joel Embiid had a dominant game all around. He finished the afternoon with 31 points and 11 rebounds and did a stellar job defending Giannis. Ben Simmons also posted in an impressive stat line racking up 15 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds, and three steals. All five Sixers’ starters scored in double figures. 

The focal point in this game for the Sixers was three-point shooting. This was one area that was looked at as a weakness for the Sixers before the season started, but you wouldn’t have believed it in this game. As a team, the Sixers tied a franchise record for threes made in a game with 21. On top of that, they did it while shooting very effectively, 47.7% on 21-44 shooting. 

This was a statement win for the Sixers. The Bucks were looked at as the main threat to stop the Sixers from representing the Eastern Conference in the finals this year, and the Sixers beat them rather easily. 

Creating a lineup of size and length in the offseason paid off greatly for the Sixers. It looks like they have built a lineup that can slow down Giannis on offense, which is going to be key in beating them come playoff time. Although it was only one game it is good that the Sixers took the first game of this match-up.


Breaking Down Potential Trade Targets For The Sixers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Trade season in the NBA is upon us. We are almost a third of the way through the regular season and teams are looking at ways to bolster their roster. The Sixers are one of those teams that will be in the mix to add some talent to their roster. They will most likely be in the market for a guard to come off the bench, and possibly a stretch four. Here are five potential players that the Sixers could target in a trade this season. 

Davis Bertans - F, Washington Wizards 

The first player is someone that is most likely to be moved as the Wizards are still in a rebuild, and Bertans will become a free agent at the end of this season. One concern might be that  his good play to start the year could make a large pool of teams that will look to acquire him.

Bertans would be a good fit on the Sixers roster. This team has had some trouble with consistent shooting from deep and Bertans could fix that. Right now he is shooting an amazing 46.2% from three on the year. Another thing that makes him a good fit is his deal. Bertans is only owed seven million dollars this season, which is something the Sixers could match salaries with rather easily. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic - G, Sacramento Kings 

Bogdanovic is one of the key names in the trade market this season. He will become a restricted free agent at the end of this season and the Kings will most likely not match a qualifying offer for him. With that being said, it makes it likely that the team will look to get a return for him instead of losing him to free agency.

This could be a great move for the Sixers. Bogdanovic would provide the bench scoring and shooting that the team needs. Right now on the year he is averaging 14.6 PPG on just above 40% shooting from three. He is also averaging 3.9 assists per game, so he could run the offense when Ben Simmons is off the floor. Trading for Bogdanovic at the right price would make the Sixers deeper, and a more serious threat to compete for the NBA championship this season.

Josh Hart - G/F, New Orleans Pelicans 

Hart is a very interesting prospect. The Sixers could match salaries with him easily as he is only owed 1.9 million dollars this season, and he still has two seasons left on his contract. Which would not only make him an asset for this year, but for multiple seasons. 

Adding Hart would add another shooter to this bench that can come on and help spread the floor. On the year he is a slightly above average three point shooter at 37.9%. Not to mention he has ties to the city of Philadelphia as he spent his college career with Villanova. If New Orleans is willing to part ways with Hart, the Sixers could be a good landing spot for him. 

Jordan Clarkson - G, Cleveland Cavaliers 

Clarkson makes this list because he has a set of skills that could benefit the Sixers, but landing a deal for him is unlikely. The 13 million dollars that he is owed this year is going to be tough to match for the Sixers with what they have to offer.

Trading for Clarkson would bolster the Sixers’ bench unit. He is a combo guard that can facilitate and create his own shots. Not to mention he is a guard that could share the court with Ben Simmons rather easily. 

Langston Galloway - G, Detroit Pistons 

The last target is another player with ties to the city. Galloway spent his college career with Saint Joseph’s University where he would wind up becoming the leading scorer in school history. 

Galloway is another cheap shooter that this team could add at the deadline. Right now he is scoring 11.6 PPG and shooting a very solid 41.3% from deep, and his 7.3 million dollars owed makes it very easy to match salaries with the Pistons to acquire him. Galloway is another guard that could come in and share the court with Ben Simmons as a floor spacer, and could facilitate as the primary ball handler in small samples. 


This Is The Tobias Harris We Have Been Waiting For

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Ever since the Sixers traded for Tobias Harris in February last year everyone has asked the same question, can he look like his old self on the Sixers roster? There were times last season where it looked like Harris had a hard time finding his fit on the team sharing the floor with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, JJ Redick, and Jimmy Butler. But this year things have changed greatly for Harris.

Now that Redick and Butler are gone, Harris has been able to become the second option on offense and has started to thrive in this role. He has seemed settled in with this Sixers team now and is starting to look like the Tobias Harris that was scoring 20 points a night for the Clippers last season. 

The run that Tobias Harris has been on right now has been a breath of fresh air for Sixers fans. Over the summer, some people were skeptical when the Sixers gave him a five-year 180 million dollar contract but right now there is no debate that he is living up to the deal.

Over his last 10 games, Harris is averaging 22.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.1 BPG. Harris is also shooting 36% from three in this stretch, bouncing back from his 0-23 stretch from beyond earlier this season. This jump in his numbers just might get Harris his first career All-Star selection. 

On top of Harris starting to look like his old self, he has grown his game in the offseason as well. During training camp, Harris said that he had been working on his defense all offseason and it has shown. He has been a more than serviceable defender and has bought into the defensive juggernaut theme that the Sixers have taken on this year. 

When the Sixers traded away Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat there were concerns that the Sixers would be without a closer. So far this season we have seen multiple Sixers close out games down the stretch, but Harris has been one of the most reliable players late in games this season. 

In the fourth quarter, Tobias Harris is currently shooting 47.7% from the field this season. This percentage is his second-highest of any quarter right now. Harris is proving to be the guy that the Sixers can go to late in games and knock down big shots anywhere on the floor when needed. Which is something this team is going to need as they compete for a championship. 

Harris starting to find his place on the Sixers is huge as he is going to be a vital piece for this team going forward. One can only hope that he continues his high-level play throughout this entire season. 


Matisse Thybulle's Offense has Developed Ahead of Schedule

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers have experienced a lot of surprises that have led to the team seeing a lot of success to start the season. Joel Embiid has played in some back to backs, Ben Simmons has knocked down not one but two shots from beyond the arc and Furkan Korkmaz has finally emerged to become a solid everyday role player. However, the biggest surprise so far this season has to be rookie Matisse Thybulle’s play on both ends of the floor.

When the 76ers traded up to draft Thybulle in the 2019 NBA Draft, the hope was they were adding a strong defensive-minded player who will hopefully develop into a nice 3-and-D wing player. However, he has exploded so far in the month of December, averaging 9.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 60% from beyond the arc. Although it is still only early December, it is safe to say that Thybulle’s development on the offensive end has come along much faster than anyone had thought when he first broke into the league.

Early in the season, Thybulle was a streaky shooter and struggled adapting to the NBA game. He struggled to get consistent minutes as he was adjusting to the speed of the NBA game. After one quarter of the season, he has finally settled in and is starting to thrive in his role as one of the first players off the bench. Even with his early struggles from deep, he is now shooting 46.3% from on 3-point shots while taking a little over two attempts per game.

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