Sixers Lead

Sixers-Bulls: 3 Things We Learned

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Hopefully Sixers fans are off the ledge by now. That 18-point loss to Boston to open the season surely wasn’t ideal, but sometimes a subsequent match-up against an easy opponent is the perfect cure. The Sixers started slow, then turned on the engines in a 127-108 blowout win over Chicago Thursday night. Here is what we learned:

1. Broad Street Bullied

Joel Embiid‘s commitment to “Bully Ball” was on full display in this statement win. With no Al Horford to contest shots, Embiid abused Wendell Carter Jr. in the low post, taking him to school on the game’s first play with an athletic post-up move and and-one foul shot. Embiid looked to bully first and chose his perimeter shots judiciously, while taking only three treys and going to the foul line 14 times. Granted, he bullied a 19-year-old rookie in Carter but Sixers fans have to be impressed. This is what head coach Brett Brown envisioned all offseason and it worked to the tune of 30 points and 12 boards.

2. Landry’s House

The expectations for Landry Shamet started growing after an excellent preseason when the rookie guard started making people forget about the loss of Marco Belinelli. He looked off against Boston, perhaps a few butterflies in his first NBA game. Against the Bulls, Shamet hit four 3-pointers on the night, on his way to netting 12 points in 29 minutes. More impressively, he looked good on the defensive end, something scouts pointed to as a weakness. If Shamet can keep this up, he’ll be getting plenty of burn off the bench.

3. Foul Play

We touched on it above in talking about Embiid’s ability to punish defenders inside and efficiently work his way to the free-throw line, but it was a group effort. The Sixers reached the line 30 times and made 27 of them — that’s 90 percent for the non-math majors. You aren’t going to lose many games when you get to the line that much in the NBA. Ben Simmons was 3-for-3. Robert Covington was 4-for-4. Dario Saric was 3-for-3. Even Markelle Fultz hit 1-of-2.

And … What about Markelle Fultz? The kid heard cheers every time he touched the ball. Go figure, Philly fans are actually invested in him and cheering for him, not booing. They want him to succeed. When he finally stroked a three-pointer — the first of his short career — late in the fourth quarter, the Wells Fargo Center erupted. Fultz played 32 minutes and a lot of it came in garbage time, but he looked good and his shot has come a long way. He finished with 12 points and five dimes. If Fultz wants to earn more meaningful minutes, he’s going to have to make a name for himself on the defensive end.

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About Mike Greger

Michael Greger grew up the son of an Eagles season-ticket holder before serving as Sports Editor at Metro Philadelphia where he covered the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and Flyers. He co-edits the popular Philadelphia sports blog, PhillySportsJabronis.com, and regularly freelances for several local publications, including Billy Penn, Philadelphia Weekly and NBC Sports Philadelphia. He is well respected in local and online sports circles due to his extensive work navigating the pulse of the Philly sports fan. His favorite Sixer of all-time is Scott Brooks – as a player, not a coach – and he isn’t ashamed to admit that he cried during Allen Iverson’s retirement ceremony. Trust the Process.

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