The NBA 2019-20 preseason is in full swing and the best basketball league in the world has had a rich selection of international games for everyone to enjoy.
On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers, sporting their retro-styled jerseys played against CBA team Guangzhou Long-Lions. The Sixers, as expected, drubbed their Chinese competition and came away with the 144-86 blowout victory.
Philly rushed to an early lead and did not look back. The size difference of the players on the floor was glaring and the Sixers maximized their size advantage to the fullest.
Canadian import and former NBA power forward Andrew Nicholson put up a commendable effort as he dropped a game-high 36 points on 15-of-32 shooting from the field along with seven rebounds and three 3-pointers. Unfortunately, his Chinese teammates struggled on offense as the Long-Lions made just 30-of-78 shots on the field for a poor 38.5 percent shooting effort. Credit does go to the Sixers’ excellent defense in limiting the Lions’ easy looks in this game.
The Sixers looked impressive. Joel Embiid, whose load was managed in this game, logged just 14 minutes of action but was able to still put up 17 points and grab three rebounds.
Josh Richardson put up a solid two-way effort as he recorded 16 points, three treys and two steals.
But the star of this game for the Philadelphia franchise was none other than their marquee point guard, Ben Simmons. He filled up the stat sheet, posting 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, flirting with a triple-double as he added eight rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and his first-ever NBA 3-pointer. The Australian star’s line did have its flaws as he went 2-for-6 from the line and committed three turnovers. Still, it was not a bad performance by any measure for 21 minutes of action on the floor.
Despite the lopsided final score, the game still can be considered an overall success as it entertained many Chinese and global basketball fans alike.
The NBA, specifically the Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey, has been in hot water recently. His tweets supporting the protests in Hong Kong drew the ire of the CBA which prompted the cancellation of a planned game between two G-League teams.
Hopefully, this game between the Sixers and the Long-Lions can be a small first step towards smoothening out relations between the NBA and their largest emerging market outside the United States, China.