By: Kylan Watson
The last time the Philadelphia 76ers stepped on the hardwood it was on March 11th for a win against the Pistons. After the game, the National Basketball Association (NBA) would postpone the season for the next four months. The Sixers stepped on the court today for a scrimmage against the Memphis Grizzlies and dominated the game while debuting a new line-up.
Brett Brown decided to put Ben Simmons at the Power-Forward spot, insert Shake Milton at Point Guard, and keep Al Horford on the bench. These adjustments paid off against the Grizzlies. The Sixers looked like a new more energetic team. They played some good defense and forced 19 turnovers from the Grizzlies which allowed them to get some easy opportunities on the fast break.
The Sixers were led by Tobias Harris who showed his entire skillset on offense. He scored 15-points and grabbed 10-rebounds. He had more space to operate thanks to Shake Milton, and Simmons’ newfound aggressiveness when shooting the three. This forced the Grizzlies to stay on the outside, instead of packing the paint. Harris was the main beneficiary of the new line-up tonight, but Joel Embiid also benefitted from the new look line-up as well. He scored 10-points and grabbed six rebounds in 13-minutes of work.
The Sixers were able to defeat the Grizzlies 90-83, but they dominated the game more than the score would indicate. At one point the Sixers led by 20 points. The Grizzlies were able to battle back after a third-quarter collapse by the Sixers. The Grizzlies were led by Jonas Valanciunas who scored 20-points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
It is only one game, but the 76ers looked energized and most importantly healthy. The team has struggled to keep the main core of the team healthy. Embiid, Simmons, Harris, and Josh Richardson have only played 19 games together during this season. But having four months off seems to have helped the team get healthy.
With three more scrimmages, and eight regular season games left before the playoffs began. Brett Brown has a lot of the time to do some more tinkering with his bench to make sure that this team is at its best. Before the games start counting on August 1st.