Key takeaways from the Sixers’ 131-124 loss Sunday night in New Orleans.
Trevor Booker making immediate impact
Last night, I wrote that Booker’s debut was exquisite considering his lack of knowledge of the schemes and plays that the Sixers run. He picked up right where he left off and put in another great performance on the second night of a back-to-back. When he compared himself to T.J. McConnell, just a little bit bigger, he wasn’t wrong. He pushes the ball and is a tough guy who will do anything to keep the ball alive. He finished his second game with the Sixers with 16 points, nine rebounds, one steal, and one block in 24 minutes off the bench.
Jerryd Bayless continues to struggle
Bayliss went 0 for 6 from the field against the Cavaliers on Saturday and didn’t have much more success against the Pelicans. The nine-year guard finished 1 for 7 from the floor for three points. On a night with such a depleted roster, these cold nights really stand out, and not in a good way.
Richaun Holmes brings the energy
There’s no doubt that JJ Redick and Ben Simmons were trying to will this team to a short-handed win with 28 and 27 points, respectively. But the contribution from Holmes over the last few games cannot go without remark. Every time he hits the floor, he digs in and brings a certain amount of energy that some of the other players lack. Sixers coach Brett Brown often describes him as having an extra bounce. He fights for rebounds, he tips in misses, he is a fast big man who can play low, and his celebrations will often leave you wondering if the Sixers are ahead by 30 points. Holmes will no doubt be an important piece moving forward, and he continues to prove why he should be on the court. He compiled 12 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks against New Orleans.
Furkan Korkmaz hits from deep
The Turkish rookie had his longest stretch of minutes Sunday night in New Orleans. In addition to playing 19 minutes, Korkmaz hit his first NBA three-pointer. Since the Sixers’ scrimmage at the Palestra in the preseason, in which Korkmaz went on a three-point frenzy, fans have been clamoring for a chance to see him on the floor. The most minutes he’d played before Sunday was a stretch of 4:38 on Nov. 27 at home against Cleveland. With Robert Covington, T.J. McConnell, Markelle Fultz, and Justin Anderson all sidelined, Korkmaz got more of a chance. It wasn’t the craziest night, but he showed he can do a little bit of everything, and finished with five points, three rebounds, and an assist.
Jrue Holiday leads three-point flurry
Heading into the matchup, the Pelicans were shooting just 36.1 percent from beyond the arc. But with the help of a game-high 34 points from Jrue Holiday, including 5 of 8 from deep, New Orleans shot 62.5 percent on threes. It was a team effort, with every Pelican except for Tony Allen and Omar Asik hitting treys. The Sixers put up just about as much a fight as they could, but with the Pelicans shooting the lights out, especially in the fourth quarter (80 percent from three), there wasn’t much that could be done.