The Sixers faced off with the Miami Heat in Vegas Summer League action on Wednesday night. Trevelin Queen scored 16 points to lead Philadelphia to a 75-71 victory.
The Heat started Jamaree Bouyea, Javonte Smart, Marcus Garrett, Haywood Highsmith, and Orlando Robinson.
The Sixers started Cassius Winston, Trevelin Queen, Charlie Brown Jr., Malik Ellison, and Charles Bassey.
Charles Bassey was absolutely everywhere on defense in the first half of this game. He disrupted lob passes over the top, sending the Sixers out in transition in the first quarter. Even when the Heat did get shots off, Bassey walled back smaller, pesky rebounders to secure the glass on Miami’s misses. The Heat couldn’t even drive to the rim with confidence, as Bassey was to the task of shifting his weight in time to spring from the weak side of the lane, swatting away feeble layups and floaters.
It was easily Bassey’s most dominant Summer League outing thus far. It took him some time to get there, but better late than never. Bassey mostly played the first half, and got very little exposure in the second half. I wonder if the Sixers have seen what they needed and decide to pull back his minutes in favor of taking a look at some other guys going forward.
Malik Ellison might be the wisest player on the team. Ellison is not trying to take any games over, opting to get his touches on offense within the Sixers’ system of off-ball cutting. The best part of his game was his taking the initiative to pick ball-handlers up in the backcourt. Ellison really dug in, forcing himself into a low center of gravity and doing a credible job of staying in front of his assignment.
Mike Foster finally found a balance in his aggression on Wednesday. His sweet spot, it appears, is in the 15-foot radius. Foster imposed his 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame to back down smaller defenders before fading over his opposite shoulder for jumpers in the first and second halves on Wednesday. He didn’t just pick his spots in the midrange. There were a couple of swing plays in which Foster attacked close-outs to the middle of the floor and got to the rim for emphatic dunks.
That role will likely skew more towards the aggressive side when Foster is in the Blue Coats’ rotation. But, he was much more calculated in his attack. Look no further than Marcus Morris as an example of being calculated but aggressive in getting his scores. He leverages his body to create advantages, and doesn’t take on tasks that his tools can’t handle. Finding that balance between optimizing your shots and being aggressive is how role players make it in this league.
Wednesday was also the first time Trevelin Queen looked like something more than a green-lit shooting guard. He still got his shots, but it wasn’t going up on every touch. Queen showed signs of playmaking combo guard. He threaded the ball around the court in hopes of catching a defender out of position long enough to dime cutting teammates.
There’s really no excuse for the amount of layups the Sixers missed, especially in transition. Even in 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s, they were leaving loose change on the rim. It was like a JV game at times.
Miami got a lot of what it wanted attacking close-outs on the baseline sides. The Sixers did a bad job of contesting with light feet and angling themselves to not completely forfeit one driving lane. All Miami had to do was use ball fakes or hesitate to get the Sixers closing in a hurry, and they were bursting to the cup.
The Sixers (1-2) will play the Denver Nuggets (2-1) on Friday night. Tip-off is booked for 6 PM, Eastern time. You can watch the action on ESPN3.