Sixers new starting lineup already has great chemistry

The Philadelphia 76ers played their first game Friday night with some of the new players they acquired at the trade deadline, and the chemistry the starters showed at the end of the game should excite Sixers fans.

The Sixers defeated the Denver Nuggets 117-110 in the Wells Fargo Center, and the starters showed why they’ll have the potential to be hard to stop in the playoffs.

With a little over four minutes left, the game was tied at 103, and Joel Embiid and JJ Redick entered the game. The Sixers had their starters in the lineup for about the final four minutes, and they worked well together in creating a decent lead against the Nuggets.

Tobias Harris, one of the newest Sixers who was acquired over the trade deadline, scored a bucket to put Philly up by two with just under four minutes left. After that, Embiid made a layup to put Philly up by four.

Embiid, who was questionable before the game because of gastroenteritis, didn’t have a good game as he shot 4-of-17 from the field.  Still, he scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half.

Jimmy Butler played a key role in helping close the game, as he scored six points in the last four minutes. All of those six points came from the free throw line, and he helped maintain the Sixers’ lead. Butler was second on the team in scoring behind Redick with 22 points on 44.4 percent shooting.

Redick played an important part for the Sixers’ success throughout the game, as he scored a season-high 34 points and shot 6-of-7 from the 3-point line. Ben Simmons also had a dunk where he hesitated near the free throw line and drew a foul against Mason Plumlee with 1:48 left in the game.

While the Sixers played well offensively near the end, their work on the defensive end also helped staved off the Nuggets from taking the lead.

With 2:24 left and the Sixers up 107-103, Butler stole the ball and raced down the floor for a layup. He was fouled by Nikola Jokic and made two free throws. Also, with 1:26 left and the Sixers up 111-105, Embiid blocked a dunk attempt from Malik Beasley.

Though this is the first game the Sixers’ new starting lineup played together, their ability to close at the end shouldn’t be ignored. The ability to close well is going to matter in the playoffs, especially against other Eastern conference powers like the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.

The playoffs is when execution is important. It’s when talent matters, and it’s when the best players have their best moments. For the Sixers, having possibly one of the best starting lineups in the league is going to be crucial for the rest of the regular season and into the postseason.

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