Sixers

3 observations after Sixers earn dramatic OT win in summer league

Sixers

The Sixers packed plenty of drama into their second game of summer league.

They showed some grit, too, coming back to pull off a 96-88 overtime win Thursday night over the Hawks and improve to 2-0 in Las Vegas. 

Tyrese Maxey (31 points, six rebounds, five assists) helped the Sixers overcome a deficit as high as 13 points with a personal 5-0 fourth-quarter run.

Isaiah Joe (21 points, five rebounds, four assists) drained a go-ahead three-pointer with 47.1 seconds left but misfired on a potential game-winner from the left wing at the buzzer of regulation. The Sixers obviously won't regret that shot after outplaying Atlanta in the extra session. 

They'll play the Celtics on Saturday. Here are three observations on the Sixers' win over the Hawks: 

Reed’s unique game 

Despite the game tipping off over 30 minutes after the original 9 p.m. ET start time due to matchups earlier in the evening running long, Reed exhibited no late-night lethargy, immediately providing hustle and defensive activity.

Reed had an interesting matchup against Jalen Johnson, the 20th pick in this year’s draft. The DePaul product ended up with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting and 12 rebounds. Johnson recorded 13 points and 11 boards.

One defining aspect of Reed’s game is his unpredictability. It’s a quality that works in his favor when he’s slithering through the lane like a wing or materializing out of the blue to throw down a put-back slam. 

The downside of Reed’s apparent randomness is when he’s beaten backdoor or suddenly cools off following a game-changing 90-second spurt. His effort, athleticism and defensive versatility are all promising NBA tools, though. Health permitting, we imagine Reed will push for rotation minutes at some stage this season. While it’s not surprising that last year’s G League MVP has impressed in summer league, give Reed credit for a strong performance. 

 

Reed started at power forward but played backup center minutes in the second half. Second-round pick Charles Bassey, who hasn’t signed with the Sixers yet, sat out a second consecutive game. 

Maxey keeps attacking; Joe does his thing

Maxey, who guarded flashy second-round selection Sharife Cooper (21 points, 12 assists), drove the Sixers’ offense just as he did in the team’s opening win over the Mavericks.

However, his teammates struggled to create good shots in the first half, enabling Atlanta to key in on Maxey. The Sixers were reliant on the 20-year-old, not an entirely unfamiliar spot for him given his experience last season as a second-unit spark plug. He’s always dangerous heading downhill. 

Maxey remained an eager off-the-dribble jump shooter but was less effective than in Game 1, missing 7 of his 8 three-point attempts. No problems at all with his approach, though. In clutch moments, Maxey was determined to reach the rim.

“I put those first-half struggles on me," Maxey said via Zoom postgame, “mainly because I came out pressing. I was shooting bad shots, trying to find my shot. (Skill development coach Tyler Lashbrook), (summer league head coach Brian Adams), they told me, ‘Hey, man, just go out there and do what you do. Get your teammates involved and everything will open up for yourself.’ I think that’s what I did."

The Sixers had a subpar shooting night as a team, going 7 for 35 from long distance. Joe (5 for 13) was the best of the bunch. That’s back-to-back positive summer league outings for Joe, who’s also made a few nice plays as a pick-and-roll ball handler. Joe dished a tight-window, behind-the-back dime to Filip Petrušev early in the fourth quarter. 

“He’s proving that he can handle in pick-and-rolls as a secondary ball handler," Adams said. “And we’ve known that, but now this is an opportunity, because obviously he didn’t play a ton this (past) season, he’s getting the minutes to show that. And it’s just kind of shining through naturally. And it’s great to see and it’s now something that as a coach, I can incorporate more.”

Springer figuring out pro game 

Jaden Springer started aggressively but seemed unsure with his decision-making. For instance, he pump faked a corner three-pointer and drove hard toward the rim but didn’t read the defensive help and picked up a first-quarter charge. 

Again, Springer couldn’t find an offensive groove until the second half. His first three-point try hit the side of the backboard. 

The rookie showed off a bit of his skill in the third quarter with a tricky reverse layup.

 

Springer was often a peripheral figure, posting seven points on 3-for-9 shooting and two assists. Adjusting to the NBA will take time, and summer league is a good early step in that process. 

“Really just trying to get better every day," Springer said. “It’s a learning experience, especially for me. This is really my first time out here, so being able to learn from these guys and pick up on stuff, it’s coming fast. You’ve got to be on the move and be ready to learn.”