Sixers Remain Winless in Vegas, Fall to Warriors

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Rookie Patrick McCaw should be a difference maker off the bench this season for the Golden State juggernaut.

Golden State 85, Philadelphia 77 – Box Score

The Sixers shooting struggles in the desert continued, as they failed to reach 80 points for the third straight game in Sin City, losing to the Warriors.

We’ll start with the usual summer topic of Ben Simmons, who recorded 8 rebounds and 6 assists, but also struggled for just 8 points on 3-8 shooting (2-5 from the foul line, 5 turnovers, and 7 personal fouls, all for a team-worst -13 plus/minus. One play in the fourth quarter stood out where his defender knew he was driving left toward the baseline and guided Simmons out of bounds for a turnover. Simmons has to be able to knock down that mid-range jumper so that defenses can’t stay 3 feet off him and allow that to happen. Right now, driving is his only course of action and predictability makes the job much easier for the opposition.

Of course, as I’ll mention below, Simmons is not getting much help from his teammates, and he’s still making plays like these:

Ben Simmons will be just fine.

Three of Simmons’ fellow starters, T.J. McConnell, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and James Webb, combined to shoot 6-27 from the field, so all things being equal, Simmons really should have had about 10 assists. It’s very easy to see why an organizational mandate should be surrounding the first overall pick with some shooters. He gets them plenty of open looks; they just need to be able to knock them down.

Richaun Holmes continued his impressive summer campaign with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. Holmes is very active on both ends, capable of playing an up-tempo style while still banging with bigger bodies on the interior. He’s certainly put his best foot forward for new front office decision-maker Bryan Colangelo.

Meanwhile, Christian Wood’s summer resume also keeps growing stronger. He led all scorers with 22 points, hitting 8 of 12 from the floor, including 2-5 from behind the arc, while adding 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Between Simmons, Holmes, and Wood, the Sixers’s best area this summer has easily been the frontcourt, which is not exactly ideal for a team that already has another 4 big men fighting for minutes on the roster. As impressive as he’s been, that simple fact might mean free agent Christian Wood signs elsewhere for the upcoming season.

For Golden State, Christian Wood’s former teammate at UNLV, Patrick McCaw, showed why he is expected to help the Warriors flesh out the rotation after they thinned their depth chart in order to sign Kevin Durant. McCaw’s numbers didn’t jump off the stat sheet: 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Still, he looked very fluid and composed out on the court, doing a little bit of everything, basically showing he should fit in perfectly in Steve Kerr’s system on both ends.

The Sixers are now 0-3 in Vegas (1-5 overall this summer). They’ll next enter bracket play and will be assigned a game date/time following the conclusion of Wednesday’s games.

(Update: The #22 Sixers will face the #11 NBA D-League Select team on Wednesday at 6:30pm. If they win, they play Brooklyn Thursday. Note that players now foul out after 6 fouls.)

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