By: Kylan Watson
The phrase “next man up” is usually associated with football. However, for the Philadelphia 76ers in the absence of Ben Simmons they needed someone else to be the third scorer behind forward Tobias Harris and center Joel Embiid. Enter guard Alec Burks. Burks provided the scoring lift off the bench to propel them to a 108-101 victory over the Magic yesterday.
The Sixers acquired Burks from the Golden State Warriors in mid-February for a 2020 second round pick. Burks really didn’t see the floor much before the season was called because of covid-19. During the restart though besides Joel Embiid, Burks has arguably had his best stretch of games inside the bubble.
During last night’s game Burks was the one creating his own shot, keeping the Sixers organized on defense, and finding his teammates for wide-open shots. He scored 22-points, and grabbed four rebounds. He also was deadly from the three-point line he hit three of his seven attempts.
In the third quarter when the 76ers were trying to climb their way back in the game it was Burks who was attacking the basket and hitting perimeter shots to keep them in the game.
Burks did not really have a role with them before the restart. But, he has arguably settled in to the sixth man spot. Especially, now that forward Al Horford has been placed in the starting line-up in the absence of Simmons.
The Magic kept fighting though against the Sixers. It was a must-win game for them, with a win they would have clinched a playoff spot in the wide-open Eastern Conference. They kept attacking the Sixers in the paint and started to get hot from the three-point line in the second half.
The Sixers killer center Nikola Vucevic had another outstanding performance against them. He scored 21-points and grabbed 13 rebounds. His play forced the Sixers to double team him, which opened up the three-point shooting for the Magic. It took some great late game defensive plays by Joel Embiid to keep him largely in check in the second half.
The Sixers were able to defeat the Magic and run their win streak up to three games. They now have a very exciting Sunday night primetime match-up with the Portland Trailblazers. They will need all hands on deck in the scoring department to keep up with the Trailblazers. Who have one of the top scoring backcourts in the league.
They will need more stellar play from Burks and the rest of their bench players if they want to beat the Blazers tomorrow night.