Philadelphia 76ers: Best single game team performances of the Brett Brown era

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

 Brett Brown recently completed his fourth season in charge of the Philadelphia 76ers. Here’s a look at the best single game team performances over a number of categories.

The Philadelphia 76ers jumped from 10 wins in 2015-16 to 28 wins this season, representing the biggest since-season increase in the history of the franchise. It also represented the completion of their fourth season under the guidance of head coach Brett Brown. Brown has had the unenviable job of working for a front office who, until this season, did not place winning games at the top of their priority list.

This was of course the Sam Hinkie era, where the Sixers won 19, 18 and 10 wins over Brown’s first three seasons in charge. It is a testament to not only Brown, but his staff and the players involved, that they have been able to get able to get over the hump this season, and finally earn some rewards for their hard work.

This season featured the Sixers’ first winning month under Brown’s tutelage, compiling a 10-5 record in January. A huge factor in this success was the emergence of rookie center Joel Embiid. Unfortunately, Embiid was restricted to just 31 games this season due to a season-ending knee injury, which came off the back of missing his first two seasons in the league due to recurring foot issues.

Considering the impact one player can have, it’s fascinating to think of what the future can hold for the Sixers once the team is able to bring in even further talent to assist Brown and his coaching staff.

But before that is possible, lets look back at the best single team performances of the past four seasons under Brown, and exactly how this season compared with the previous three.

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126 points vs. Orlando Magic, Dec. 12, 2013

This game represented the second double-overtime game in Brown’s first 19 games at the helm. Michael Carter-Williams kept up his incredible debut-season form, posting 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Sixers to their 126-125 win.

Not only has Carter-Williams since departed, but not one player from this riveting contest remains on the Sixers’ roster. Other notable performances were Thaddeus Young with 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Evan Turner with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The highlights from the game can be seen here:

The top five team scoring performances over the last four seasons are as follows:

  1. 126 vs. Orlando Magic (2OT), Dec. 12, 2013
  2. 125 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2OT), Nov. 9, 2013
  3. 124 vs. Denver Nuggets, Dec. 30, 2016
  4. 123 vs. Houston Rockets, Nov. 13, 2013
  5. 123 vs. Detroit Pistons, Mar. 29, 2014

One a positive note, one game from this season made the list, an excellent road win against the Nuggets. Leading the way for the Sixers were Ersan Ilyasova with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Joel Embiid with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists. The most impressive stat from a team perspective was the Sixers converting on 16-of-33 attempts from three-point range.

Another notable highlight from the Nuggets’ game was the Sixers’ offensive rating (points per 100 possessions). Having ranked last over the course of this season with 100.7, the Sixers’ offensive rating this game was 123.3, which would rank comfortably first in the league over the course of a season.

Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

58 rebounds vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Mar. 4, 2015

Despite an amazing night on the glass, the Sixers were still unable to pull out a win, a 123-118 overtime loss. The leading rebounders on the night were Luc Mbah a Moute with 14 rebounds and Nerlens Noel with 13 boards. Overall, the Sixers won the battle on the glass, 58-54. Unfortunately, they couldn’t overcome the one-man show from Russell Westbrook, who posted 49 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

Side note: one incredible statistic from the game was backup center Henry Sims recording a -27 in his 10 minutes of court time.

The highlights from the game can be seen here:

The list of top rebounding games over the past four seasons are as follows:

  1. 58 rebounds vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (OT), Mar. 4, 2015
  2. 56 rebounds vs. Orlando Magic (2OT), Dec. 3, 2013
  3. 56 rebounds vs. Memphis Grizzlies (2OT), Nov. 23, 2016
  4. 4 games with 55 rebounds

The game from this season that featured on the list, a double overtime game against the Grizzlies, also didn’t produce a win. Embiid, Ilyasova and Robert Covington all reached double figures as the Sixers won the rebounding battle, 56-46. For the season, the Sixers ranked 23rd at 42.8 rebounds per game

Despite the game going into overtime, Embiid was still on a game time restriction, and hence was limited to 27 minutes. With a defensive rebounding percentage over the course of the season of 24.7 percent, Embiid was on fire this game with a percentage of 35.7.

Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

36 assists vs. Brooklyn Nets, Dec. 20, 2013

Like the leading scoring and rebounding games, this contest was a cliffhanger, with the Sixers coming out victorious 121-120 in overtime. Carter-Williams again filled the box score with 10 assists, with fellow starters Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner contributing eight and five assists respectively.

This game was somewhat of an outlier for Brown’s first season at the helm, when the team ranked 15th in the league in assists with 21.8 per game. The ensuing two seasons were even worse, with the Sixers ranking 24th and 20th overall.

The highlights from the Sixers’ outstanding night of distributing can be seen here:

The top four list for assists over the last four seasons are as follows:

  1. 36 assists vs. Brooklyn Nets (OT), Dec. 20, 2013
  2. 35 assists vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 24, 2017
  3. 34 assists vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Nov. 22, 2013
  4. 33 assists vs. Phoenix Suns, Nov. 19, 2016

An encouraging sign here is that Brown’s team featured on the list twice this season. As a team, the Sixers made some strides in the assists department this season, ranking eighth overall at 23.8 per game. The Clippers game featured on the list was one of the Sixers’ best overall performances of the season.

The Sixers’ point guard tandem of T.J. McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez contributed 10 and seven assists, respectively, on the way to a 121-110 win. This season was awfully impressive considering the absence of point guard in waiting/No.1 overall pick Ben Simmons for the entire season.

Already anointed as the Sixers’ starting point guard next season by coach Brown, it will be interesting to see how much further the Sixers can rise up the league rankings in this category.

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

18 steals vs. Golden State Warriors, Jan. 30, 2016

While the Sixers have recorded three games of 18 steals during Brown’s reign, the Warriors game deserves the most appraise and focus. At the time of the contest, the Warriors were the defending champion and were 43-4, on their way to a record-breaking 73-win season.

Interestingly, the Sixers’ leaders on the night for steals, Ish Smith and Isaiah Canaan with four each, are no longer with the team. Current point, T.J McConnell, also added three steals. But what also stood out was the Sixers forcing the Warriors into 23 turnovers, which was just behind their season worst of 24 turnovers. Despite this, the Sixers ultimately fell short, 110-106.

The highlights from this hard-fought contest can be seen here:

The top steals performances over the last four seasons are the following:

  1. 18 steals vs. Houston Rockets, Nov. 27, 2015
  2. 18 steals vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Nov. 29, 2015
  3. 18 steals vs. Golden State Warriors, Jan. 30, 2016

It’s quite noteworthy that two of the Sixers’ top performances came in consecutive games.

This season, the Sixers ranked third in the league with 8.4 steals per game. While steals can’t be used as a definitive measure of a team’s defensive prowess, it’s certainly doesn’t hurt. This season’s highest return for steals came during a 116-108 loss to the Boston Celtics. In this game, point guard T.J. McConnell led the way with five steals, while Robert Covington and Nerlens Noel contributed three steals.

Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

14 blocks vs. Boston Celtics, Nov. 25, 2015

The Sixers got their blocks from a variety for sources in a game that equalled their best return over the past four seasons. Jahlil Okafor recorded a career-high four blocks while guard Isaiah Canaan and forward Jeremi Grant blocked two shots each. Despite recording 14 blocks, 11 steals and holding the Celtics to 84 points on 34.1 shooting, the Sixers came up short.

Following this game, the Sixers had a 0-16 record, on their to a 10-72 record for the season.

The highlights of this terrific defensive effort can be seen here:

The top performances for blocks over the past four seasons are the following:

  1. 14 blocks vs. Charlotte Hornets, Apr. 4, 2015
  2. 14 blocks vs. Boston Celtics, Nov. 25, 2015
  3. 13 blocks vs. New York Knicks, Jan. 21, 2015

The Sixers’ best performance this season also came against the Celtics, a 110-106 loss on the road. Despite blocking 11 shots as a team, the Celtics hit on 19-of-40 from three-point range to hold on for the win. Noel had three blocks, while Covington, Ilyasova and Embiid each had two. For the season, the Sixers ranked seventh in the league with 5.1 per game.

With four players on the Sixers’ roster averaging at least 1.0 block per game moving into next season, coach Brown can rest easily with the knowledge that he has multiple options to protect the rim.

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17 three-pointers vs. Chicago Bulls, Apr. 13, 2016

The Sixers’ three-point shooting has been a point of emphasis for coach Brown, forming part of his mantra of “defense, pace and space.” In the final game of a disastrous 10-72 season, the Sixers came out firing. Despite hitting on 17-of-35 from downtown, the Sixers were unable to topple the Bulls, falling 115-105.

Covington led the way with six three-pointers, while the since departed duo of Kendall Marshall and Hollis Thompson each hit three. Fielding just seven players for the game, this was some feat for Brown’s undermanned side.

The highlights of this three-point barrage can be seen here:

The top three-point shooting performances over the past four seasons are the following:

  1. 17 three-pointers vs. Chicago Bulls, Apr. 13, 2016
  2. 17 three-pointers vs. Phoenix Suns, Nov. 19, 2016
  3. 4 games with 16 three-pointers

As can be seen from this list, the Sixers this season nailed 17 three-pointers during an early season win against the Suns. Nik Stauskas was on fire, connecting on 5-of-6 from downtown. Further, center Joel Embiid and the since departed Hollis Thompson each nailed three three-pointers.

This season, the Sixers ranked seventh for three-point attempts with 29.8 per game, but finished 25th for percentage, converting at a 34.0 percent clip. Coach Brown has already stated that targeting shooters this offseason will be a high priority. With a plethora of cap space and some potentially very high draft picks, the Sixers should be able to address this need.

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123.3 Offensive Rating vs. Denver Nuggets, Dec. 30, 2016

Analytics have become a key component of measuring modern-day performance. Offensive rating measures a team’s points scored per 100 possessions, and is a terrific indicator as to the efficiency of a team’s offensive output.

The most productive offensive rating of Brown’s reign came this season during a road victory over the Denver Nuggets. One big factor during their 124-122 victory was converting on 32 of 40 free-throw attempts, both season highs. In fact, when the Sixers as a team attempted at least 30 free throws in a game, they compiled an 8-3 record.

Joel Embiid was monstrous this game, getting to the line 14 times on his way to 23 points in just 29 minutes. For the season, the Sixers ranked 25th with 22.0 attempts per game. Another huge factor for the terrific offensive rating was hitting on 16-of-33 from three-point range.

The highlights from this game can be seen here:

The top offensive rating performances over the past four seasons are as follows:

  1. 123.3 vs. Denver Nuggets, Dec. 30, 2016
  2. 121.4 vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 24, 2017
  3. 121.3 vs. Detroit Pistons, Mar. 29, 2014
  4. 120.3 vs. Sacramento Kings, Jan. 30, 2017
  5. 119.4 vs. Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 17, 2017

The obvious thing that stands out here is that four of the top performances came this season. In keeping with Brown’s mantra of “pace and space,” these ratings should increase each season as the talent level at Brown’s disposal improvers.

By way of comparison, the Golden State Warriors led the league with an offensive rating of 113.2, with a single game best of 142.5. This gives the Sixers an idea of the benchmark they will be chasing moving forward.

Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

72.2 Defensive Rating vs. Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 17, 2017

This rating measures the points the Sixers allow the opposition per 100 possessions. Their premium performance from the past four seasons came in a recent dominant effort against the Dallas Mavericks. The Sixers’ 72.2 defensive rating formed part of a 116-72 annihilation. The Mavericks shot just 34.5 percent from the field, and got to the free throw line on just 17 occasions, converting only nine times.

This game also represented the best net rating (difference between offensive and defensive rating) of the past four seasons. At a whopping 47.2 net rating, it dwarfed the next best of 28.1. Center Richaun Holmes compiled the best individual net rating, posting an astounding 80.7 rating in his 20 minutes on the floor.

Here are the highlights from this dominant performance:

The top defensive rating performances of the past four seasons are the following:

  1. 72.2 vs. Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 17, 2017
  2. 75.7 vs. Detroit Pistons, Jan. 28, 2015
  3. 77.4 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, Dec. 3, 2014
  4. 80.1 vs. Boston Celtics, Nov. 25, 2015

Keeping the Mavericks to 72 points was an exceptional defensive effort, considering the Sixers this season allowed an average of 108.0 points per game to the opposition. This represented the Mavericks’ second lowest points total for the season, and also their second worse offensive rating.

From a players perspective, point guard T.J. McConnell compiled the best individual defensive rating with an amazing 54.6 in 22 minutes of court time.

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Best team performances for 2016-17 and looking forward

Comparing this season to the previous three is a good way of monitoring and measuring the progress made during the Brown era. As can be seen, many of the performances ranked among the leaders over these past four years occurred this season. Of course, jumping from 10 to 28 wins over the past two years is going to help this cause.

Here are the top team performances for this season:

Points:

  1. 124 vs. Denver Nuggets, Dec. 30, 2016
  2. 122 vs. Sacramento Kings, Jan. 30, 2017
  3. 121 vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 24, 2017

Rebounds:

  1. 56 vs. Memphis Grizzlies (2OT), Nov. 23, 2016
  2. 55 vs. Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 17, 2017
  3. 54 vs. Indiana Pacers (OT), Nov. 11, 2016

Assists:

  1. 35 vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 24, 2017
  2. 33 vs. Phoenix Suns, Nov. 19, 2016
  3. 4 games with assists

Steals:

  1. 16 vs. Boston Celtics, Feb. 15, 2017
  2. 15 vs. Miami Heat, Feb. 11, 2017
  3. 15 vs. Orlando Magic (OT), Mar. 20, 2017

Blocks:

  1. 11 vs. Boston Celtics, Jan. 6, 2017
  2. 4 games with 10 blocks

Three-Pointers:

  1. 17 vs. Phoenix Suns, Nov. 19, 2016
  2. 16 vs. Denver Nuggets, Dec. 30, 2016
  3. 2 games with 15

Offensive Rating:

  1. 123.3 vs. Denver Nuggets, Dec. 30, 2016
  2. 121.4 vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 24, 2017
  3. 120.3 vs. Sacramento Kings, Jan. 30, 2017

Defensive Rating:

  1. 72.2 vs. Dallas Mavericks, Mar. 17, 2017
  2. 84.8 vs. Detroit Pistons, Dec. 11, 2016
  3. 89.9 vs. Portland Trail Blazers, Jan. 20, 2017

Although these are just single game performances, they demonstrate the capabilities the Sixers possess on both ends of the court.

With the return of some budding superstars and some further high-end draft talent, evaluating these numbers in 12 months time will be an interesting exercise.

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