Jerry’s Key’s to the Game: “No paint for Simmons” and “Hot bench”
Key stats: Kings are shooting 38.2% from deep, second in the league. The Sixers are holding opponents to 34.4%, seventh in the league. This is what it’s like when world’s collide!
First play of the game is a Simmons dunk. Not good for Jerry’s keys.
Fox rocking the ninja headband. Beautiful fast break where he throws a bounce pass to Buddy for a dunk. Video
Jerry compares Ben Simmons to Magic Johnson. Both in size and lack of outside shooting. Thinks BS can develop a shot in the future. Simmons and Embiid both seem like unfair physical specimens.
With the score tied 15-15, Kings go on a 10-0 run punctuated by a killer Fox full-court play. Video
Sixers press the Kings second unit. Bogi brings the ball up and is the only person to touch the ball before bricking a stepback mid-range. Is this foreshadowing problems with the Kings bench unit tonight?
First quarter ends with the Kings up 32-26. Buddy has 15 on 6/9 shooting, including three from deep.
Yogi starts the second quarter off strong by picking Embiid off with his back to the basket and hitting a nice mid-range jumper off the screen.
Kings lead slips away as Butler abuses Justin Jackson with an array of post moves and drives.
Grant and Jerry suggest Buddy Hield is an All-Star, but I’m not buying it. Nothing against Buddy, but I think him and Fox are equally responsible for this season’s success, but neither has fully solidified themselves as All-Stars. I do believe they will both be there next year or the year after.
So in Friday’s edition of the Bee, WCS talked about guarding Embiid:
“He’s got some moves and his footwork is really great,” Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said. “He plays with a lot of power up top and his base is so strong, you can’t let him get to his spot. If you let him get to his spot, it’s over.”
“When I play against dudes like that, it’s a load,” Cauley-Stein said. “I feel like dudes who play that aggressive, they’re waiting for you to fall. They’re waiting for you to just give in and let him do whatever. I just try to give him different looks and keep on coming. He’s going to score. He’s going to get rebounds. That’s what he does and he’s really good at it. It’s just how many times can you stop him from doing that?”
I listen to a lot of 1140 and trading WCS is a big topic of discussion. (I’ll probably post about that later.) But WCS deserves some credit for understanding his role and how to guard Embiid. He’s making Embiid work all game. The stats won’t do it justice. Embiid is going to get his no matter what. But WCS is fighting for position, using his hands to combat Embiid outside, and genuinely giving him a tough matchup. It’s easy to think Embiid–all 7 foot 280 lbs of muscle–would just overpower the lean WCS, but it didn’t go down like that. Here’s a video where the Sixers wanted to get the ball to Embiid in the post and WCS just didn’t let it happen. Pushed him out to the perimeter, used his hands to tip the drive, and forced Embiid to do a mid-range, turnaround, fadeaway that resulted in a 24 second violation. Video (sorry for the crap video–Wave broadband said they upgraded me to Highest Speed internet but obviously not true)
Kings go into the half up 62-52. You can feel the momentum. Kings came out to play. This isn’t a case of the Sixers being flat, either. The Kings are just taking it to Philly.
It’s Saturday night so I got crunk. Had this Ketel One Botanical. Peach and Orange Blossom infused with some San Pellegrino. For the classy drunk.
Half starts with Belly poking Fox in the eye. Fox leaves, Ferrell comes in.
Embiid on a 5-0 run to start. He’s just bullying the Kings down low.
More Embiid, who hits 24 with 8:40 left in the quarter.
Up 8, the Kings are holding their own without Fox. Buddy misses a shot, WCS gets the board, kicks to Shump, who misses a three, and WCS grabs the rebound again, who gives it to Buddy, who converts the three. 11 point lead, third time’s a charm! Video
Shamet misses 2/3 free throws, so the fans will get a free burger from Jack in the Box. My favorite burger from Jack? The tacos, which are just Mexican burgers.
Kings up 86-79 going into the fourth.
Before the start of the quarter, Kayte talks about how the coaching staff considers this a prize fight between a heavyweight and a middleweight, and how the middleweight just needs to outpace.
Fox starts the 4th. How will this change up the rotation?
Struggling all night, Bogi hits an And-1 opportunity.
Butler converts a 4 point play on a terrible, terrible call. Remember this.
In a span of 80 seconds the Sixers go on an 8-0 run to tie the ball-game. You can feel the momentum dissipate from the arena. Wonder how this young team closes out?
At the 5 minute commercial break, my buddy Dan texts me with his concerns: “The team this year doesn’t have that guy who will get you 2 points. Fox and Hield just aren’t there yet.” Literally fifteen seconds later, Fox takes a screen from WCS and drills a mid-range jumper to put the Kings up 3.
Another 4 point play for Jimmy Butler. Philly up for the first time since 2-0.
Back and forth game the last four minutes, like a boxing match where guys are just absorbing and delivering blows.
With two minutes left, WCS plays killer help defense to force Butler to barf up a shot. Kings secure the board and Buddy delivers a dagger. The crowd is going wild. Video
WCS fouled with 48 seconds left, hits a FT, makes it a two possession game.
Buddy hits his free throws and puts the game out of reach.
Final score: Kings 115, Sixers 108
Jerry’s Keys revisted:
Simmons had 18 points in the paint. He got their whenever he wanted but seemed non-existent in the fourth.
Kings bench had 32 points, 14 of which came from Bagley. Bagley was the biggest bench contributor, although Yogi did his part. Bogi was a negative tonight.
Player of the Game:
Buddy had 34 and broke his single season record for 3’s made…with 30 games to go. Bagley looked poised in the clutch and came up with some big half-hooks and defense. Fox was steady handed.
But the real Player of the Game, imo, is WCS. I was never a believer in WCS, but I am wrong about the guy. He played a killer game against Embiid. Yes, big boy had 29/17, but he went 9-24 from the field. WCS made the potential MVP work and neutralized Embiid. Credit where it’s due.
Monday, 7pm vs. San Antonio @ home.