NEW ORLEANS — Here is my look at some of the best and worst performances from the 76ers’ season-opening 117-97 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night at Smoothie King Center.
Best performance: Only a fool wouldn’t give this award to Furkan Korkmaz. How many times do I have to remind y’all that my mama didn’t raise a fool?
The Sixers reserve guard finished with 22 points, tied for the team-high with Joel Embiid. Korkmaz scored 18 of his points on 5-of-7 shooting in the fourth quarter, including connecting on all four of his three-point attempts. He scored 14 points during a 17-4 run that put the game out of reach. Korkmaz also had five assists.
Worst performance: This was an easy one. Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas made just 3-of-19 shots, with a chunk of his misses coming around the basket. He finished with a team-high 12 rebounds with five coming on the offensive end, but his shooting couldn’t be overlooked.
Best defensive performance: This goes to Matisse Thybulle. The Sixers reserve guard did what he always does: Get rewarded by taking risks. The second-team All-Defensive selection finished with a game-high four steals to go with one block.
Worst statistic: As bad as Valanciunas’ shooting and Andre Drummond’s first-half turnovers (four) were, I had to give this to Brandon Ingram’s minus 29. The standout player finished with a game-high 25 points, but the Pelicans were outscored by 29 points when he was on the floor.
Best statistic: This goes to the Sixers making 13 of 25 (52%) three-pointers. In addition to Korkmaz being perfect on four attempts, Georges Niang made 3 of 4. Embiid, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey all shot 2 of 3.
Best of the best: This marked the first time in franchise history the Sixers have four 20-point scorers in a season opener, including back when they were the Syracuse Nationals. Korkmaz and Embiid had 22 points, while Tobias Harris and Maxey had 20 apiece.
The last time there was more than one 20-point scorer in a season opener was 2013, when Evan Turner (26), Spencer Hawes (24), and Michael Carter-Williams (22) did it.