Rapid Reacts: Sooo Close, But No

Philadelphia 76ers 87 FinalRecap | Box Score 91 Milwaukee Bucks
Nerlens Noel, PF 33 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | +9 +/-A double-double and 50% shooting from the field is a nice start to this two game road trip. Noel came out with an aggressive mind set again last night and scored 7 points in the 1st Q. The leap forward his game has taken is amazing.

Jerami Grant, SF 23 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-3 3FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +22 +/-I know his shooting stroke has been off (34% from the field; 14% from deep thru 4 games) but I really enjoyed watching Grant play last night. His ability to cut to the rim is a great compliment to McConnell’s passing skills. When his J returns he will be a great scoring threat off the bench.

Jahlil Okafor, C 35 MIN | 9-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -4 +/-Forget about the points and 69% shooting from the field. What really impressed me last night was Jah’s ability to pass the ball.  The rookie made several great passes out of double teams last night.

T.J. McConnell, PG 35 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 12 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +4 +/-In his 1st NBA start, TJ posted a near triple-double and really had the Sixers half-court offense clicking. I also noticed that the Sixers played with a much faster pace (but under control) last night than I had seen in previous games. Last night TJ made that extra pass that teammates and coaches love so much. He has now posted 24 dimes and 1 TO in his last 2 games.

Nik Stauskas, SG 35 MIN | 5-19 FG | 3-14 3FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +17 +/-The Bucks are one of the worst defensive teams in the League and are awful at guarding the three point line, so I really thought this would be the game that “Sauce Castillo” broke out. He got a slew of good looks last night, but his jumper was off and that kept Nik from a big night. 1 or 2 more made buckets from Nik and the Sixers win this game. Last night he again showed the ability to attack the rim.



Richaun Holmes, PF 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-2 3FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -20 +/-Holmes finally showed some the preseason form that impressed Philadunkia nation. Holmes had a filthy put back dunk in the 2nd Q and during his run last night he displayed a quick “2nd jump” as the NBA folks call it.

Isaiah Canaan, PG 15 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-3 3FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -16 +/-I didn’t notice any pouting or poor body language from Canaan last night, but he sure played like a guy who just got benched in favor of an undrafted rookie.

JaKarr Sampson, SG 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -16 +/-I am waiting patiently for Sampson to find his game this season.

Hollis Thompson, SG 28 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 7 PTS | -22 +/-As long as HT is receiving 28 mins a night, I will question whether or not Brown is actually trying to win games. He threw up a 3-ball last night that missed by 2-feet.

Brett Brown
Starting McConnell was a no brainer from where I am sitting, but it took huge stones as an NBA coach to give the undrafted rookie the start last night and it worked out beautifully. I also have to give Brown credit becasue the troops were ready to play again last night and the Sixers got off to a fast and exciting start in this one. But they can not close out games and some but certainly not all of the blame for that has to fall on the coach.


Six Things We Saw Last Night…

1)  You can blame youth/inexperience or the lack of a go-to superstar, but the Sixers’ execution down the stretch of this game was a mess.  Leading 85-82 with 2:29 remaining in the game, the Sixers scored only 1 more FG the rest of the way as MIL posted a 9-2 run to close this one out.  The Sixers failed to score a bucket coming out of a timeout, TWICE during this stretch.

2)  “That was a really great effort. I’m so proud of the guys,” coach Brett Brown said. “We were in a position at the end to get a road win. We didn’t, and it’s something that you just leave feeling good about the group and that they are, in fact, improving and moving forward.”

3)  Kris Middleton hit a dagger fallaway 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to give the Bucks a 4-point lead.  He then re-sealed the win with 2 FTs with 1.4 seconds left.  That’s how you justify your big new $70 million contract.

4)  Honestly, the Sixers let this one slip away and it could sting for a couple of days.  Poor execution at the offensive end of the floor down the stretch and 2 big defensive lapses in the closing seconds gifted this game to the Bucks.

5)  The Sixers shot 4-18 from deep in the 1st half and 6-28 (21%) on the game…they out rebounded the Bucks 51-37; scored more FB points (18-12) and PIP (50-40)…Sixers had 18 turnovers last night.

6)  How did McConnell discover that he was starting last night…“We get the jerseys in practice and Tony came up to me and said, ‘You’re starting tonight,’” McConnell said. “I didn’t realize it.”  Such a great story for TJ to tell his kids some day.  As is the fact that McConnell is the only player in NBA history to post 12 dimes in 2 of his first-four games (via ESPN Stats).


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