LAS VEGAS – Many expected a nice matchup at the Thomas & Mack Center Wednesday night between the Sixers’ Nerlens Noel and Los Angeles Lakers draft pick Julius Randle.
It never came to fruition. Noel, instead, sat and watched the action.
What he saw was the Sixers jump out to a 22-point lead in the second quarter by dominating the paint and not allowing the Lakers to get anything inside. It all led to a 85-63 victory. The Sixers will now face top-seeded Chicago Thursday at 10 p.m. ET in the championship bracket.
Three non-starters led the Sixers in scoring, as Elijah Millsap collected 19 points and seven steals. Sean Kilpatrick also scored 19 and Jerami Grant added 11. Gordon also corralled 10 rebounds.
"It was all about picking them up [defensively] and getting into them," said Sixers summer league coach Chad Iske. "We wanted to come out and it be about our defense and our pressure from the get go. Our defense led to good offense."
The team said that Noel was out to rest, something he has done in five of the nine summer league games the Sixers have played – five in Orlando and now four in Vegas. Wednesday morning, as the team when through its shootaround in preparation for the game, Noel sat on the side with an ice pack on his ankle. He had tweaked it during his second game in Orlando and then again rolled it slightly in Monday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Also sitting out Wednesday night’s game with ankle sprains were rookie second-round picks K.J. McDaniels and Jordan McRae.
During the game, big men Drew Gordon and Brandon Davies also had to leave the game with injuries as Gordon needed three stitches for a cut over his eye and Davies had to be treated for a mouse under his eye. Both were able to return.
Randle scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Lakers.
Noel will probably be a game-time decision against the Bulls, but being as we are in Vegas, we’ll bet that he plays.