Mike Scott hadn’t started a game for the 76ers this year because coach Brett Brown thinks that the veteran 6-foot-8 forward gives the team valuable energy off the bench.
The last few games, neither the energy nor the shooting was there, so Brown decided to shake things up and it greatly benefited Scott and the team.
Scott ended a recent shooting and scoring slump with a season-high 21 points in the Sixers’ 141-94 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
Scott scored nine points in the first quarter when the Sixers jumped out to a 36-18 lead that would only keep increasing.
Scott shot 9-for-12 from the field and 3-for-5 from three-point range.
In his previous five games, he had scored a total of seven points and was 2-for-21 from the field and 1-for-16 from beyond the arc.
His performance was overshadowed by Ben Simmons’ career-high 34 points that included a three-pointer, but this game was good for Scott’s confidence.
“I felt good, I made a shot again,” Scott said. “... Ben found me a couple of times, Trey [Burke] found me a couple of times, and the ball went my way.”
This was the type of result Brown was hoping for when he inserted Scott into the lineup. There was a need for a starter since Joel Embiid was sidelined with a left hip bruise. Al Horford started at center and Scott was inserted as the power forward.
“Just to try to find something to jump-start him,” Brown said in explaining why he started Scott. “He has been down. We need him to be up.”
Brown said he went with his gut in starting Scott.
Since being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 6, Scott has been a valuable rotation player. Last season, in 27 regular-season games with the Sixers, he shot 41.2% from three-point range, the best percentage among rotation players.
Scott’s energy and toughness are infectious, but when he was struggling during this recent stretch, he appeared to lose a bounce in his step.
“Everybody goes through droughts when you are a shooter,” Brown said. “... As I reminded him, he experienced something similar in his Clipper life earlier, and water seeks its level, it will rise up. It will end up being what he should be as a shooter most times and at some point it starts to balance out and tonight I thought he was really aggressive and I was happy for him because he is good people and he certainly puts in time and cares.”
Scott said he understands that slumps are part of the game, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. He said the best way to get out of a slump is to keep working.
'I work on my game every day," he said. “I just stay with it, continue to get my shots, work on my touch, and sooner or later it is going to drop,”
He hopes it will continue when the Sixers host the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors on Sunday. The Raptors ,who eliminated the Sixers in seven games during the Eastern Conference semifinals, have a 101-96 home win this season over the Sixers.
In that first game against Toronto, Scott scored 12 points and hit 3 of 5 three-point field goals.
Now he will be looking for a repeat performance.
“We have to go out there and dominate like we did tonight,” Scott said. “We knew who the personnel was, so we just had to kind of punch them in the mouth and take care of business and get ready for tomorrow.”