Sixers summer league

3 observations after Sixers drop to 1-1 in Vegas despite impressive Smith night

The Mavs fought back in the fourth quarter.

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The Sixers dropped to 1-1 in the Las Vegas summer league Monday night despite holding a 17-point lead over the Mavericks early in the fourth quarter.

Dallas stormed back for a 111-103 win.

DJ Steward led the Sixers with 24 points.

Terquavion Smith had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Bobby Jackson served as the Sixers' head coach. Jaden Springer (right ankle) and Marcus Bagley (right hamstring) were out, per Sixers Wire’s Ky Carlin. 

The Sixers will face the Hawks on Thursday afternoon. Here are observations on their loss to the Mavs:

Smith’s scoring and hustle 

To punctuate a 15-1 first-quarter run, Smith grabbed a steal and zoomed the other way for a lefty dunk. 

Early in the second quarter, he burned the Mavs’ zone with a three-pointer from the wing. Smith soon got himself a similar look with a convincing pump fake, though his shot went in and out. And he earned another long-range chance by chasing down an offensive rebound, then nailed the subsequent corner jumper. Smith won’t ever be a prodigious offensive rebounder, but those sorts of hustle plays can enhance his knack for momentum-turning spurts. 

While he committed five turnovers, Smith still impressed on several occasions as a passer. His crafty third-quarter bounce pass to Azuolas Tubelis for an and-one layup was a highlight.

For an undrafted rookie, Smith has sure looked very good in summer league. 

Steward also showed off three-level scoring skill Monday with Jackson, his G League coach last year on the Stockton Kings, at the helm. The 6-foot-1 guard started strong, caught fire late in the third quarter, and played easily his best game of summer league yet. 

King’s instant impact 

Louis King (nine points, three steals, two blocks) almost immediately made his presence felt. 

He drained two threes and assisted one, vaulting the Sixers into the lead. 

King was a two-way contract player for the Sixers last season and a key member of the Delaware Blue Coats’ championship-winning team. As the Sixers saw when he scored 20 points against the Nets in their regular-season finale, he’s got a smooth jumper and nice defensive tools, including a 7-foot wingspan. It would make sense if the Sixers aim to keep King in the organization in some form, especially given their current lack of wing depth.

Blue Coats head coach Coby Karl, who’s part of the Sixers’ summer league coaching staff, knows King’s game well. 

“His skills, ability to handle the ball under pressure, and then shoot over the top of the defense I think are some of those things that will allow him to play at that next level,” Karl told NBC Sports Philadelphia in January. “So I think the 3-and-D applies to him, but I think he has a little bit more creativity with the ball, the ability to create his own shot, and then also to play in the pick-and-roll.”

A different Petrusev in Vegas  

In the first quarter, Filip Petrusev stole a perimeter pass intended for No. 12 overall pick Dereck Lively II and went coast-to-coast for an and-one layup.

Petrusev blocked four shots and continued to increase his aggression offensively, although his efficiency dipped a bit; the Serbian big man was 0 for 3 from three-point range and 2 for 5 at the foul line. He's improved his level in Las Vegas, though it's still awfully hard to imagine a roster next season with Joel Embiid, Paul Reed, Mo Bamba, Montrezl Harrell, and Petrusev.

After Dallas erased the Sixers' once-healthy lead, Petrusev subbed back in with a little over two minutes remaining. He blocked Jaden Hardy's lay-in attempt, but Lively found the ball and slammed in a dunk. Rookie Olivier-Maxence Prosper converted an and-one layup against Petrusev to extend Dallas’ edge to five points and the Sixers couldn't manage any last-gasp heroics.  

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