76ers

NBA summer league: Waiting on Shake Milton's breakout game, Matisse Thybulle's active hands, more from Sixers' loss to Celtics

NBA summer league: Waiting on Shake Milton's breakout game, Matisse Thybulle's active hands, more from Sixers' loss to Celtics

The Sixers have turned the ball over 38 times in their first 80 minutes of summer-league play.

They paid for their sloppiness Saturday, falling to the Celtics at Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, 96-82, after beating the Bucks in their opener Friday, 107-106 (see observations).

The team's next game is Monday vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder at 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU).

Here are observations on Saturday's game:

• When his feet are set and he’s ready to let it fly, Mattise Thybulle’s jumper has looked smooth. He converted 4 of 9 three-pointers Saturday, starting with a spot-up jumper from the right corner on a sharp skip pass from Shake Milton for the game’s first basket. 

Thybulle’s mechanics have seemed to falter when his legs aren’t completely under him. 

The rookie’s active hands were as advertised Saturday. Just through anticipation and effort, Thybulle looks poised to pick up plenty of deflections and steals as a rookie. The 20th pick had 15 points and six rebounds vs. the Celtics.

• Zhaire Smith savors matching up against the opposition’s biggest offensive threat, and he got that opportunity against Carsen Edwards, the 33rd pick this year and one of the players included in the draft-night trade that sent Thybulle to the Sixers. Though Smith moved his feet well and took the assignment seriously, he did pay twice in the first quarter for being caught on top of screens as Edwards hit a pair of long, contested jumpers on Smith. 

Given the Sixers’ massive team size and Smith’s penchant for on-ball defense, guarding small, shifty guards is a clear way he could help the team this season. Saturday afternoon’s matchup against Edwards was good, early practice. The Celtics’ guard posted a game-high 20 points on 7 for 16 shooting.

• It was a mixed bag for Smith, who finished with 14 points on 4 for 9 shooting, offensively. 

The 20-year-old threw down a dunk in the second quarter that reminded you of his world-class athleticism, and he also knocked down two of his five three-pointers. 

However, his looseness with the ball led to four turnovers.  

• Marial Shayok has played well offensively in the Sixers’ first two games of summer league, leading the team in scoring with 19 points Friday and posting 14 points Saturday on 6 for 12 shooting. 

His shot is efficient and consistent, he has some ability off the dribble (albeit with a very strong preference for driving right) and he knows his limitations. And, outside of Shayok’s physical skills, his comfort and confidence in this setting has been evident. The second-round pick appears to have a keen understanding of what he does well and believes that it fits on an NBA court. 

• We’re still waiting on Milton’s breakout game in summer league.

The day after shooting 2 for 14 against the Bucks, Milton shot 2 for 15 vs. the Celtics.

Though the slow shooting start for Milton isn’t ideal, the measured way he’s run the offense has been encouraging. 

He has 13 assists and six turnovers thus far in summer league and has attempted 20 free throws. His experience as the go-to guy for the Delaware Blue Coats last season seems to be paying dividends with his intelligent decision-making and growing knack for drawing fouls. 

• The two tallest players in summer league matched up — the Sixers’ 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje and the Celtics’ 7-7 Tacko Fall. This might be the only time Koumadje faces a player with a height advantage over him. 

In the battle of the giants, Fall had the slightly larger impact with six points, four rebounds and one block compared to Koumadje's scoreless, rebound-less line.

• PJ Dozier, playing against his former team, showed his scoring ability but did not have his best all-around game. Dozier notched 13 points on 6 for 11 shooting but turned it over four times and was a minus-23.

• Terry Harris received his first action of summer league and wasn’t able to find many openings. The 23-year-old wing who’s known for his outside jumper was scoreless in nine minutes and missed his two shot attempts. 

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

Though the NBA All-Star festivities have officially come to an end, the Sixers aren’t set to play again for another three nights. When you’re an avid sports fan, that seems like an eternity.

What are Sixers fans supposed to do during this break while they wait for their favorite team to get back in action?

I suggest a daily dose of wholesome content.

Today's edition of wholesome content comes from a place of warmer weather, with Sixers old and new vacationing together.

That's right, Matisse Thybulle is currently on vacation with former Sixers T.J. McConnell and Jonah Bolden. The past and present of fan favorites have come together to enjoy the little break in their hectic schedules.

And by the look of things, they're definitely enjoying themselves with ... whatever they're doing here.

And when the players are on the court, fans care about their shoe choice  — so the same should apply off the court, right?

With that being said, Thybulle went with a white croc and is rockin' them. One might even say ... crockin' them. Yes, I actually wrote that.

Anyways, the Sixers are back in action Thursday night when they host the Nets. Then and only then will the bad puns stop ... maybe.

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The fun Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons moment you might've missed during All-Star Game in Chicago

The fun Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons moment you might've missed during All-Star Game in Chicago

There’s been a lot made of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ fit on the court. In the past, there have been rumblings of the pair not necessarily getting along off it.

During All-Star Weekend in Chicago, the pair seemed to get along swimmingly.

But there was this fun moment we likely all missed initially.

While it’s true that they’re very different people and may not be best friends, it seems like they have a mutual respect and admiration for one another.

Both players shined throughout the night. Simmons (17 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals) put on a show during his first run, dunking everything in sight. Team Giannis basically ran their offense through Embiid (22 points, 10 rebounds, one ridiculous Dream Shake on LeBron) down the stretch.

Their chemistry appears to be growing. That could only help the Sixers as they look to go on a run in the final 27 games after the All-Star break.

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