Saturday matinee games in the NBA are largely gambles. Early start times and long travel hours have a tendency to make the games play out erratically. Today’s matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks was intriguing for a number of reasons.
Rookie sensations Joel Embiid and Dario Saric took the floor again hoping to show beleaguered Philly fans that the process that they have been enduring has been worth it over all these years.
Atlanta looks to be building on the solid foundation laid out by coach Mike Budenholzer and fortified by new addition Dwight Howard. The members of the 66-win team aren’t all here but the principles haven’t changed much.
If nothing else, it was a chance to see a team that is straining to maintain its spot among the constantly shifting Eastern Conference against a young team that is dreaming to be where their opposition is.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a lot to look forward to now with Joel Embiid in tow and Ben Simmons waiting in the wings. After years of trusting the process, now the fans have real life players to watch and root for.
Rookies are usually streaky and Embiid has been no exception. He was great in his debut against the Thunder. Blocking Russell Westbrook and scoring 20 are great achievements for a first-year player. Saturday’s contest was a different story.
Embiid was limited by foul trouble and this was exacerbated by porous defense by his running mates. He did manage to flash his range and finish off drives. Sergio Rodriguez also played well for the Sixers, scoring 14 on above %50 shooting.
The new-look Hawks are picking up where last year’s team left off. Dwight Howard looks like he is still getting acclimated to being back in his hometown. He didn’t score a bunch of points and looked uncomfortable guarding Embiid out on the perimeter.
Paul Millsap had his way with Dario Saric. He scored 17 points and made quick decisive moves in the post. Dennis Schroder posted 11 and 11 while thoroughly outplaying Philly’s guards. He looks ready to lead the team into a new era with his poise and control.
Kyle Korver is the picture of consistency as he does what he always does, can threes from long range. His blistering shooting from behind the arc adds a dimension to the offense that will benefit from the attention that Howard attracts down low.