Sixers at Pelicans: CJ McCollum makes 11 three-pointers, hurls New Orleans Sixers

Lehigh College producer CJ McCollum loved one of the best three-point taking pictures evening of his profession on Friday in New Orleans.

The 31-year-old McCollum set the Sixers on fireplace all night from lengthy vary in a 127-116 Pelicans win at Smoothie King Heart, hitting a career-best 11 triple and ending the season with 42 factors. Zion Williamson didn’t try three factors, however added 36 factors on 13-for-19 taking pictures as New Orleans improved to 23-12 with its fifth straight win.

The Sixers, who fell to 20-14, had 37 factors and eight rebounds from Joel Embiid. James Harden scored 20 factors, 10 assists and 7 turnovers.

Therese Maxi made his comeback after lacking 18 video games with a fractured left foot. He performed 19 minutes and scored 9 factors on 4-for-10 taking pictures.

New Orleans was down Brandon Ingram (bruised left toe) and Larry Nance Jr. (neck spasms).

The Sixers will journey to Oklahoma Metropolis and play the Thunder on New Yr’s Eve. Listed below are notes on their loss on Friday:

Maxi again approx

Regardless of the return of Maxi, De’Anthony Melton retained his beginning spot.

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers mentioned final week that the workforce did not plan to “throw[Maxi]proper in.” We’ll quickly get a greater thought of ​​what lineups Rivers now desires Maxi to characteristic in, however it might be too early to attract main conclusions.

Maxi’s opening spherical was what you’d anticipate from a participant who will not be used to getting back from accidents. He revered Embiid at first, then missed three throws on consecutive possessions. Rookie Dyson Daniels took benefit of Maxie being too late to play after Willie Hernangomez’s display, as he superior to the large man for a layup.

Maxi was additionally one of many victims of the “Nice Alvarado Theft”. As he dribbled the ball throughout the ground, Maxi appeared oblivious to Jose Alvarado’s patented offside assault till it was too late.

Whereas he hit a tough jumper on Williamson, Maxey lacked his normal reduction and confidence offensively. Clearly, that is no purpose to panic, however everybody would have most popular a smoother transition to work once more. Rivers’ choice to play Maxey with Embiid from the bottom and Shake Milton the lone keeper subsequent to him early within the second quarter did not make issues straightforward.

With Embiid sitting out, Williamson started to attain inside on nearly each New Orleans possession. The Sixers’ zone protection was ineffective as a result of Williamson saved discovering layers to drive and Montrezl Harrell did not hassle him on the edge. The district tends to work with the Sixers this season as a change-of-pace choice, however the thought of ​​Harrell because the backline insurance coverage did not assist Friday towards Williamson. The Pelicans outscored the Sixers by 15 factors in Maxey’s first task.

Maxi had a couple of encouraging performs after halftime, together with a fast drive and reverse cross, however we think about he’ll be dissatisfied along with his evening total. After all, there is no such thing as a doubt that the 22-year-old can also be grateful to be taking part in basketball once more.

Evening scoring “common” Embiid

Embiid’s greatness briefly appeared to overshadow all the things else.

He scored 10 factors in lower than 5 minutes, gave the Sixers a 16-6 lead with a fast break, and shot 6-for-7 from the sphere within the first quarter.

These sorts of first-period stat traces are actually pretty routine for Embiid, who has many choices towards something resembling single protection. When groups plan to help defenders in his dribbling, his midrange play typically makes that concept appear nugatory.

Draw bugs is a really dependable instrument for Embiid as nicely. He is tried fewer than seven free throws in only one recreation this yr. Hernangómez stepped in when Jonas Valancionas was referred to as for his fourth foul early within the third quarter, and felt that an embed dunk or layup on each possession was nearly inevitable over the following jiffy.

A Sixers comeback appeared unlikely by the center of the fourth quarter, however Embiid completed the sport poorly. He missed his final three pictures, dedicated two late runs, and could not cease Williamson on two switches. Sixers asks a A lot From him and towards groups nearly as good because the Pelicans, dips in Embiid’s degree might be expensive.

Principally, Friday was a typical Embiid stat evening in December. His 37-point efficiency did not change his scoring common for the month in any respect.

The turnovers of the primary half do large harm

Turnovers have been a horrible drawback for the Sixers within the first half.

Harden was irritated by the amount of Jaxson Hayes on the keys and by Alvarado’s depth. Simply over 18 minutes later, the Pelicans had 23 factors on the Sixers’ 11 turnovers and a 20-4 benefit in fast-break factors. McCollum hit three straight tackles in simply 42 seconds, instantly extending New Orleans’ result in 56-40. By that time, the Sixers have been working again a lot that the half-court scheme did not actually appear to matter.

The Sixers clearly cannot afford to be cussed about preserving Embiid in cowl drop towards McCollum. They threw a couple of blitzes at him within the second half and blended up their appears, however he punished the errors. When Milton could not get across the display of Hernangomez’s ball and Embiid wasn’t excessive sufficient, McCollum made the Sixers push with a four-point play.

In isolation, Tucker has had some constructive moments in Williamson. He pulled again from Williamson, and used intelligent upper-body bumps that weren’t overwhelmed by his unbelievable energy. Regardless of this, Williamson made a number of tough maneuvers, accumulating a game-high 16 free throw makes an attempt along with his arduous edge assaults. Tucker was assessed a technical foul early within the fourth quarter when he thought he stripped the ball cleanly and the umpires determined in any other case.

The Sixers in the reduction of on turnovers within the second half and performed higher transitional protection, however Alvarado grabbed an Embiid fumble within the fourth quarter and went inexcusably coast-to-coast on a free throw. He’s a participant who will gleefully uncover issues with focus and energy. Lower than a minute later, McCollum managed his tenth aim. His jumper with 2:30 to go broke the New Orleans franchise document.

Friday was one other minor defensive displaying for the Sixers—his 56 % taking pictures from the ground and 41.2 % from three-point vary is unacceptable total—however it’s nonetheless a recreation they may have received with out McCollum’s brilliance. Whereas he shot 11-for-16 from outdoors the arc, his teammates went simply 4-for-15.

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