There’s no hiding that the 76ers are playing some of the best basketball down here at the Orlando Pro Summer League. The team won its third game in a row tonight against a big and physical Brooklyn Nets team. The final count had the Sixers on top 92-86 in a game that went down to the wire.
The Sixers offensively have been on a tear lately and the main culprit has been Sixers guard Casper Ware. He looked like a NBA caliber player tonight against Brooklyn scoring an astonishing 24 points. He commanded the offense all night and looked like a leader on the court. Ware shot 52% from the field tonight, knocking down 9-17 field goals. He also made a couple clutch pull up threes when the Sixers needed them.
Coach Pierce commented on his point guard after the game, “I think its all his confidence as a result of how he is playing. He knows he is our leader.” A leader he is, leading the team in scoring down here in Orlando. He has impressed me game after game with his ability to create his own shot and how he is able to get his team involved. Ware should have his eyes on a roster spot if he keeps up the good work on the hardwood.
A scary moment for Philadunkia nation is the injury to the left ankle of second round pick KJ McDaniels. He seemed to twist it a little before halftime and was seen leaving the gym with a trainer. He did not return to the game. This comes as a big loss because McDaniels has been playing well the past couple games. Without him the Sixers are missing someone who attacks the rim, grabs critical boards, and contributes to the majority of accurate outlet passes seen by the team. Some good news is while I was waiting near the locker room after the game, McDaniels came walking out slightly limping. He just looked up and gave thumbs up and said, “Ill be alright, and don’t worry.” Depending on how fast he can recover I would expect to see him in Las Vegas next week.
The swat machine, Nerlens Noel had himself a big game again tonight. He finished with 14 points, 9 boards, and 5 blocked shots. He looked impressive and is slowly feeling more and more comfortable with his adjustment back into real gameplay. One thing I am noticing each game is that Noel seems to be getting gassed with the extended minutes that he is receiving. This is something that can be fixed quickly with just more and more playing time.
“Yeah, I definitely feel it, my body conditioning itself is natural. It’s something that I’m used too. Overall I thought I transitioned well and I feel good” said Noel when talking out his conditioning after the game. The points the big man scores are great but when he blocks a shot you can see that his team really gets pumped up and gets ready for another defensive stance. Noel really seems to fire up his teammates with those blocked shots and often is more effective on the offensive side of the ball after blocking a shot. Look for Noel to get better and better as he prepares for the regular season.
Ronald Roberts and Hollis Thompson are two players that continue to impress as well this summer. Roberts plays such a physical game often backing down his defender and finishing going strong to the rim. He excels getting rebounds and prides himself on his above the rim game. He was 3-5 from the field tonight with 6 points and 7 rebounds. I like the way he has been consistent here in Orlando. Thompson ended with 12 points, but struggled finishing at the rim tonight. He always is in the mix of the action though whether it be attacking offensively or helping out with defensive stops or rebounds. I think he has improved his game significantly from last year.
The Sixers have one their third game in a row with their only loss coming on the first day at the hands of the home team, the Orlando Magic. I like their chances to finish this tournament strong as they have caught fire here these past couple days.
The Sixers will play their final game Friday with the team and time TBA later on. I will be covering it live for Philadunkia.com.
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Tyler Cook is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @