The 76ers weren’t dazzling but did enough beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 116-109, and extend their home winning streak to 14-0. Here are some takeaways from the game.
With Al Horford out, two-way player Norvel Pelle was the first Sixers sub at center for Joel Embiid, ahead of Kyle O’Quinn. The 6-foot-10 Pelle is raw offensively, but he does bring an interior presence on defense and he made a quick impact in the first half.
In under six first half minutes, he had three blocked shots, but also picked up three fouls. Pelle showed variety by blocking shots of a center, forward and guard.
He rejected center and former Sixer Jahlil Okafor, who double pumped, but Pelle didn’t bite for the fake, holding his ground before the rejection. Pelle then had a spectacular block off an attempted dunk by forward Brandon Ingram. Then he showed his weakside defensive instincts, by blocking a shot inside by former Sixers guard JJ Redick. In addition, Pelle had a few dunks around the basket and gave a Sixers team some needed energy on both ends of the court.
Redick still has plenty of game at age 35, mainly on the offensive end. With New Orleans headed again to Lottery land, expect the Pelicans to receive plenty of trade offers for him. He has already been the subject of trade rumors and there are plenty of contenders that can use his perimeter skills. Redick is a deadly shooter when left alone and is also great at running off picks, getting momentarily open and drilling a three either off the dribble or the catch. He entered the game shooting .448 from three-point range, the second best mark of his career and against the Sixers, made his first three, three-pointers.
Tobias Harris continues to take advantage of his size. The Sixers 6-foot-9 forward had various players guarding him and took advantage of his increasing impressive post-up game. Anytime former Villanova star Josh Hart was guarding him, Harris looked to take it inside, with a four-inch height advantage. And Hart is a good defender, but had trouble with Harris down low. Harris had a few inches on Kenrich Williams and also took him inside. Even when he had the similar sized Ingram on him, Harris was able to use his strength to get any shot he wanted. The thing is that Harris hasn’t abandoned his perimeter game. It just seemed against the Pelicans, he was looking to take it inside frequently and with favorable results.
The Sixers had a difficult and emotional 115-109 win at Boston on Thursday and then had to return less than 24 hours later to face a Pelicans team that had lost 10 in a row. So a letdown was inevitable and the Sixers, who led by as many as 16 in the first quarter, allowed the Pelicans in the game longer than they would have liked. Give New Orleans credit for fighting, but the Sixers did enough to win when they weren’t on their game. Not all the games will be won with style points and this was one of them. Ben Simmons, who had a rough offensive game against Boston, came back strong for the Sixers, frequently taking it to the hoop with authority.