T.J. McConnell is everywhere
He finished the night with 10 points but it sure felt like so much more than that. McConnell was everywhere, picking up six assists, four steals, and four rebounds. He was stealing inbound passes, pestering every person he guarded at a full-court clip, keeping balls alive, and rotating with ease. He still remains a guy that does all of the things that won’t fill a box score but greatly affect the game.
The Sixers led by as many as 19 points in the first-half, but the Nets were able to cut the lead to 10, thanks in large part to their offensive rebounding. The Nets had 11 offensive rebounds to the Sixers three at intermission. The tides quickly turned in the second half as the Sixers held the Nets to just two offensive rebounds and zero second-chance points through the final 28 minutes of the game.
Joel Embiid gains some ground
The big man seemed to be moving with a little more ease after a night off in New York and a cancelled morning shoot around. He was creating out of the post a little better than we’ve seen recently, getting better positioning on players, and moving a little quicker. He finished with 21 points and eight rebounds. He still seems to be lacking a little bit, but it’s a good sign to see a little pep in his step.
Sixers bench boosted by new additions
The additions of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova have given a huge boost to the Sixers’ bench. Belinelli has not only surprised with his ability to cut and play off the ball, but has been a much better defender than anticipated. The Sixers knew exactly what they were getting with bringing Ilyasova back into the fold and he has not dissappointed. A solid reserve unit is going to be necessary not only to alleviate the starters through the final stretch of the season, but also when the Sixers make their push in the postseason. The two combined for 24 points.
D’Angelo Russell causes problems for Sixers
Though he averages around 15 points a game, two of Russell’s 10 20+ point performances of this season have now come against the Sixers. He scored 22 points against the Sixers on Jan. 31 and finished Sunday night with a game-high 26 points to go with four rebounds and four assists. The high-scoring nights are becoming more regular for Russell though. Four of his 20+ nights have happened in the last months.