The Philadelphia 76ers tipped off the 2022-23 NBA season this past Tuesday.
They flopped in their first two contests for a team entering the season with some legitimate hype.
After falling 126-117 to the Boston Celtics Tuesday, they lost 90-88 to the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday.
It leaves one of the Eastern Conference favorites at the bottom of the standings early on.
76ers Small-Ball Lineup Promising
PJ Tucker was the headline signing by the 76ers this off-season.
On top of the grit he would provide, many were intrigued by the small-ball lineups he could unlock.
The small-ball lineup used against the Bucks was promising.
Down 80-67 with 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, coach Doc Rivers went with a lineup that had Tucker at center.
A 13-0 run over the next 4 minutes tied the game.
Look for Rivers to continue to experiment with that moving forward.
Harden Cooking Again
Maybe a full offseason to get healthy really was just what James Harden needed.
After a disappearing act in last year’s playoff exit, Harden has come out firing this season.
Across two games, he averages 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists per game on 57.9% shooting.
Harden had two snatches last night 😱 pic.twitter.com/OZI4lnpvzU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 19, 2022
While he missed both of the shots after, it was promising to see Harden successfully attack two quality defenders.
A return to star form for Harden would be massive to the 76ers’ title hopes.
Embiid Off to Slow Start
While Harden’s start has been promising, Joel Embiid‘s has been a big disappointment.
The superstar big man is averaging 20.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.
However, he has also turned it over 10 times and is only shooting 38.5% from the field.
And his defensive effort has been less than inspiring.
76ers fans can take solace knowing Embiid started off slowly last year too.
But their title hopes rest on his broad shoulders.