Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tobias Harris shines in Sixers' win over Nuggets

Dave Uram
February 09, 2019 - 8:53 am

The 76ers brief two-game losing streak is over thanks to a 117-110 win over the Nuggets at Wells Fargo Center. This was the debut of Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott and James Ennis, as well as Moses Malone jersey retirement night. It was a very special evening in South Philadelphia with great basketball and outstanding tributes for the late, great Malone. 

Here are my observations.

The Dynamic “Philadelphia Fab 5” 

This game was tied at 103 with 4:09 remaining and the 76ers went on a 10-2 run because of their new starting five of Harris, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick. That put the Nuggets away and cemented win number 35.

Harris made a 12-foot floater followed by an Embiid layup, Butler foul shots, Simmons dunk and Embiid jumper. That’s certainly spreading the wealth, which didn’t include Redick, who scored a game high 34 points.

“I think that we feel the responsibility that we have to take this circumstance, this situation and all of our kind of sporting lives, and I don’t mean to be too dramatic but it’s true, and maximize it,” Brett Brown said. “To come out in this fantastic sort of basketball atmosphere and the home crowd and to role out our new team was a real special treat. It was for me.”

“There’s always mismatches and I think that the team, the five that we had at the start, that’s going to be tough,” Ben Simmons said. “You got guys who can post, guys who can shoot the ball, knock them down, and I think it’s going to be tough to really guard us.” 

If Friday didn’t show how lethal this starting five can be, nothing will. 

Redick a.k.a. “The Forgotten Man” 

During Thursday’s Harris, Marjanovic and Scott introductory press conference, a question was posed to Harris about the Sixers starting lineup, and the media member left out Redick, which prompted Scott to speak up and make sure Redick was mentioned. That was the right thing to do and Friday night proved why. 

His 34 points came on 11-of-15 from the floor, including six-of-seven from three-point range. He was a game high plus-14, this after missing the previous two games for rest and due to nausea.

“I tried to give it a go on Tuesday (against the Raptors),” Redick said. “I mean I couldn’t even get through my pregame routine. And then, it was nice to have a week off in the middle of the season and only miss two games. Sometimes you miss a week, you miss seven days, and you could miss four games, five games. I only missed two games. I always say you never feel 100 percent during the season, once training camp starts. I will say today, I felt 100 percent. It was nice I had my energy, my body felt great, mind was clear. So hopefully it doesn’t take that for me to have go nights, but I kind of knew that I was going to have the energy tonight.”

Redick’s importance can never be overstated. He’s vital to this team’s success.

Embiid Off His Game, But Still Impactful 

It’s pretty rare when Embiid doesn’t play well, which was absolutely the case Friday against Denver. Embiid was questionable pregame because he wasn’t feeling well, possibly picking up what Redick was dealing with earlier in the week. Embiid only scored 15 points on four-of-17 from the floor and zero-from-five from distance. He did grab 12 rebonds, go seven-of-eight from the foul line and hustled his you know what off, coming up with a huge block (one of four in the game) during that late fourth quarter run.

Even when Embiid isn’t his best, he’s still a game changer. 

Good Debut For Harris 

Harris played well in his first game as a 76er, scoring 14 points on six-of-12 from the floor and two-of-three from three-point range. He also grabbed eight rebounds and made three assists. If you didn’t know he was traded to the Sixers earlier in the week, you would’ve thought he played with the team’s core the entire season. 

“Just the team, the potential of us, the reaction from the fans,” Harris said in regards to why he was smiling while playing Friday. “It feels good to be appreciated and I really felt that tonight and that was big for me and that was a good feeling.”

The capacity Wells Fargo Center crowd cheered loudly for Harris during player introductions, as well as other times during the game.

Marjanovic got a standing ovation when he entered for the first time off the bench. The very likable 7-foot-3 big man scored four points in 15 minutes.

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