3 observations from Sixers nail-biting preseason win over Cavs
After kicking off the preseason with a win against Ben Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets, the Sixers traveled home to take on the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers. Things got a bit dicey at the end, but thanks to a strong effort from Montrezl Harrell, they were able to squeak out a 113-112 victory to remain undefeated. Here are some observations from the matchup.
Sixers have a star on their hands with Tyrese Maxey
I know it’s only the preseason, but man, Tyrese Maxey has looked incredible. Similar to what happened in Brooklyn, the 21-year-old came right out the gates and let his presence be known. In 15 minutes of action, Maxey managed to rack up 21 points on stellar 9-for-11 shooting.
Over two years later, and it’s still unexplainable how the Sixers were able to land Maxey with the 21st pick of the 2020 draft. After bursting on the scene last season, he seems poised to take another step forward. The likelihood of it happening seems far-fetched, but if Maxey keeps this up, he could legitimately be in the conversation for an All-Star selection.
First look at Joel Embiid, James Harden
The Sixers star duo didn’t take the court against the Nets Monday but made their preseason debuts against the Cavs. Some rust needed to be knocked off, but Embiid (12 points, six rebounds) and Harden (nine points, five assists) started the year off on the right foot.
Easily the biggest thing to take away from their play is how Harden looked on the floor. The former MVP put in a ton of work this offseason to get his body right, and it paid huge dividends.
From a physical standpoint, he looked much more comfortable on the floor compared to last season. Along with getting to the rim with ease, he even took a pair of ankles.
Sixers’ newfound depth on full display
Since it’s the preseason, the star players are taking a lighter load to stay fresh for the opening weeks of the season. This has allowed the supporting cast to show their worth on a larger scale.
Following an impressive offseason from Daryl Morey, the Sixers were viewed as one of the deepest teams in the league. This depth was on display against Cleveland, as multiple role players had a good night at the office.
Some of the key standouts include Montrezl Harrell (13 points, three rebounds), De’Anthony Melton (11 points, three assists), and Paul Reed (five points, six rebounds, four steals). Georges Niang also had it going from deep as he canned a pair of triples en route to scoring six points.
Everyone knows what the “big four” is capable of doing. The thing that will take the Sixers to the next level is getting consistent production from the players around them.
Mandatory Credit: NBA.com