By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers had their eight-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night. They faced the surging New Orleans Pelicans who had a four-game winning streak going. Unfortunately, for Philly CJ McCollum scorched them from the three-point line making 11 and led his team to a 127-116 victory tonight.
Philly jumped on the Pelicans from the opening tip-off their ball movement kept them on their heels. They were able to move defenders and get high-percentage shots and had an eight-point lead early in the first quarter. Had Philly kept that effort up throughout this game they may have walked away with a victory. However, New Orleans turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter and the Sixers coughed the ball up 18 times and they scored 30-points off those mistakes. The ball often found McCollum who did most of his damage from the three-point line. He made 11 tonight (career and franchise high) and McCollum just had too much sauce in his bag tonight and nothing they tried cooled him off. He ended tonight with 42-points and the Sixers will need to make sure they put some size on him for the rematch on Monday if they want a different result because letting him go one-on-one didn’t work tonight.
Despite McCollum’s offensive explosion this game was in reach for the Sixers, but defensive lapses ruined another outrageous Joel Embiid scoring night. He scored (37-points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had five assists. Embiid could not be stopped tonight; he has had a brilliant December and continues to round into form. He needed more help from his teammates tonight. If they can find a way to get more balanced scoring the Sixers can beat anybody in the league. Defensive lapses and turnovers got them tonight. Additionally, they will need to find a way to clog the paint and make the Pelicans a jump shooting team. If they want the result to be different in Philly in three days. When they evaluate this game, they will see that if they cut down on the self-enforced errors this game could have been won.
Before they meet the Pelicans again on Monday night, they will head to Oklahoma City tonight to face the Thunder. Who are another young and athletic team, and those squads carved the Sixers up. If they want to stifle them, they will need to stay attached to their man on the defensive end. Force the Thunder to rely on their perimeter game. Additionally, they will need to keep the ball moving on the offensive to get high-percentage shots to maximize their offensive possessions. If they want to get their 21st victory of the season tomorrow night.