The Philadelphia 76ers had a tough night overall up in Canada as they fell to the Toronto Raptors in the preseason opener 123-107 on a night where they clearly have some things that need to be cleaned up. That is to be expected after a somewhat tumultuous offseason and a few wrinkles within their team.
With Joel Embiid resting, the Sixers turned to Andre Drummond to start in his place. The 2-time All-Star big man responded by scoring 19 points with 14 rebounds and four blocks while also knocking down seven of his eight free throws.
“He got to the foul line,” said coach Doc Rivers. “He used his size, his rolling, Toronto like switching a lot, and coming into the game knowing that, Drummond did a great job of rolling to the basket, creating, putting pressure on their defense.”
It was a typical stat line for Drummond who does a lot out of things in terms of attacking the glass and playing with a ton of energy. He scored 11 points with six rebounds in the first quarter where the Sixers actually did get off to a solid start before tailing off.
“I liked our start,” Rivers added. “At least the first eight minutes and then after that I thought the game kind of got away from us. Guys in tough spots, putting Georges (Niang) at the 5, we’ve never done that, Paul (Reed) struggled a little bit, I thought their pressure got to us overall.”
The one blemish on Drummond’s night is the fact that he committed five turnovers. There were a few times where he would try to do more than what was asked, but that can be attributed to being a bit tired. Rivers did not want to play him after halftime.
“He was great,” the coach added. “Other than the turnovers. I thought he got tired. We weren’t gonna play him after the half and then we needed some minutes. You can tell he thought he was not playing, but we just didn’t have enough guys.”
Despite the good individual numbers, Drummond did not care for his stat line. He was upset with the loss even in the preseason:
My performance? We lost…I’m here for one reason and one reason, only and that’s to help this team in any capacity. Just to play hard on both ends of the court, give it all I have, and to play till exhaustion.
Seth Curry, who added 14 points and four steals while knocking down two triples, praised Drummond for his activity. They had been seeing this type of energy and work all week at training camp so seeing this in a game was nothing new.
“He did a good job on both ends, he play with a lot of energy, a good pace,” said Curry of Drummond. “He created plays for other people and, obviously, was doing work down on the block and scoring the ball so he did a great job for a great first impression. He’s a veteran player, smart player, and he did a lot of good things.”
When Embiid returns, the Sixers obviously will not be asking as much of the 10-year veteran out of Connecticut. At that point, he will be able to channel this and be able to turn it into some good production off the bench in short minutes.
The top 6 possible trade destinations for Sixers star Ben Simmons
Doc Rivers explains his concerns after Sixers preseason loss to Raptors
Former Timberwolves player gives Sixers advice amid Ben Simmons drama
Man behind viral alligator video throws shade at Sixers star Ben Simmons
Source: Yahoo Sports