Sixers Drop to 0-2 in the Preseason

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Boston 110, Philadelphia 102 – Box Score

In the Sixers’ second preseason contest, they found themselves up against the Celtics’ new “Big Three” of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s own star-to-be trio was down two members, with Joel Embiid remaining out of action and Markelle Fultz sitting as a precautionary measure due to a sore shoulder. As a result, things went about how you might have expected.

Boston controlled the action the entire night. Only hot shooting from downtown for the Sixers kept them in the game (14-31 from three as a team). An especially concerning trend was Boston, a team known to be a poor rebounding club, dominating on the offensive glass (17 Celtics offensive boards). Amir Johnson received the start, and he, Richaun Holmes, and Jahlil Okafor all needed to do a better job in that area.

While the three-point shooting won’t be quite as good most nights, it does speak to the front office’s decision to surround Ben Simmons with shooters. The two big wing acquisitions of the past two offseasons, J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless, combined to go 6-8 from three. The floor spacing will be much improved this season compared to the collection of D-league brick layers out there in years past.

As for Ben Simmons, the rookie tallied 8 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals, against 5 turnovers. The defensive versatility Brett Brown raved about in training camp was put on display, with Simmons covering everyone from Jayson Tatum to Gordon Hayward to Kyrie Irving.

The offensive end was a mixed bag. Simmons’ stepback jumper still looked ugly, and his forays to the rim did garner him a handful of trips to the free throw line, but also two charge calls. His most impressive play came when Simmons did not have the ball in his hands, finishing this half-court feed from T.J. McConnell:

The good news is the Sixers will get a second crack at these Celtics Monday night in Boston. You would expect both Markelle Fultz and Dario Saric (rest) to be out there. Until then, keep an eye out for Joel Embiid in the streets of Philadelphia.

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