Robert Covington leads on both ends
Often what happens is that if Robert Covington has a good defensive game, his offensive stats don’t stand out, and on his hot shooting nights his defense is glossed over or not as noticeably solid. On Tuesday, Covington was very clearly the best defensive player on the floor and stuffed the box score as well. Kemba Walker had a horrible night and it was in large part because of Covington’s defense. Walker finished the night with five points on just 1-of-9 shooting. On the other side, Covington had a team-high 22 points including shooting 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Joel Embiid’s quiet night
Even when Joel Embiid is in foul trouble it’s hard to keep the big man from making his mark on the game, but against the Hornets Embiid was uncharacteristically quiet through a majority of the game. He had four points in the first half, 10 through three quarters, and didn’t really come alive until the fourth when he scored eight points. The important takeaway from this is that the Sixers’ response to Embiid being double-teamed and kept in check through most of the game was exactly as it needed to be. The Sixers recognized and recovered from the situation, allowing the other options to take full bloom.
Amir Johnson hits a three
He is not the guy you expect to hit a three or want to shoot a three. Or is he? Amir Johnson hit his seventh three of the season against the Hornets. This is clearly not a large sample size but here are the numbers. He took 10 three-pointers in October and November combined and hit just one of them. But, since December, Johnson is shooting 60 percent from three. It’s not the prettiest shot, and his feet are all over the place, but he’s making them.
Ersan Ilyasova takes another charge
It takes a certain mentality to be the guy that’s going to stand in front of an NBA player who is running at full speed and not move out of the way. Ersan Ilyasova drew a charge Tuesday that literally split his face open. Let that sink in. Heading into the game in Charlotte Ilyasova was third in the league in fouls drawn. Not every team has a guy that can reliably do what Ilyasova does and it’s nothing if not impressive.
Ben Simmons’ passing
There are a lot of areas that Ben Simmons excels and he has rapidly improved in almost every area. One of the most impressive and most used skills of Simmons’ is his passing. He finished with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting which is impressive enough, but his 13 assists are just as important and sometimes his passing is under-appreciated. Not only does he have great vision and find open guys, but he’s doing so while turning the ball over less and less.