Give virtual Russell Westbrook credit for one thing — he never stopped shooting.
Westbrook put up 28 shots Tuesday night in NBC Sports Philadelphia’s NBA2K simulation of the Sixers’ game vs. the Rockets, missing 22 of them in a 72-47 Houston loss (eight-minute quarters).
Here are a few observations on the Sixers’ 2K win:
Not Westbrook’s night
Westbrook’s 21.4 percent mark from the field was his worst a Rocket. Shake Milton guarded him well, sagging off and encouraging Westbrook to shoot while also not allowing him to accelerate on drives toward the rim.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni left Westbrook in for the bitter end of the blowout, apparently not concerned with giving one of his best players a little rest.
Coming up big
Though it took the Sixers a few minutes to get comfortable with the Rockets’ style, Houston was always going to be vulnerable against Joel Embiid and Al Horford. The Rockets don’t play a true center, which meant players like P.J. Tucker and Austin Rivers were guarding Embiid. He took advantage, scoring 24 points (22 in the paint).
Horford was effective down low, too. He hit his first four shots and had the Wells Fargo Center crowd very much on his side.
Put an exclamation point on the end of that half with the Horford jam. pic.twitter.com/YGA0QzPOdG— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 31, 2020
There was even a Horford Fathead visible in the stands early in the second quarter.
Thybulle is not a point guard
It’s nitpicking in a game in which the Sixers were very strong across the board, but 2K Brett Brown’s insistence on using Matisse Thybulle as a backup point guard remains perplexing.
Sure, the Sixers don’t exactly have an excess of capable ball handlers with Ben Simmons injured, but Josh Richardson, Alec Burks and Furkan Korkmaz would seem to be better suited for that job.
Thybulle's defense was excellent, as usual.
This man is still swiping and slamming in simulation mode. pic.twitter.com/gsZGWn82jc— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 31, 2020
What’s up with the blimp?
Sixers fans were obviously very excited during the action, enjoying Embiid’s dunks and Westbrook’s woes. They were generally quiet during timeouts, however, which is one reason why we couldn’t help but notice that a large Sixers blimp — seemingly close to the size of an entire section of fans — floated around during breaks in the action. The blimp is certainly a curious addition to the game presentation experience.
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