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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Saturday, April 5, 2014

From big man Henry Sims, Sixers are getting more production, aggression


BOSTON – Maybe the 76ers circulated a memo throughout the locker room. Maybe they convened before Friday’s game, a 111-102 win over the Boston Celtics, and agreed upon a singular word to best describe Henry Sims.

“Aggressive,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said, carefully selecting the identical adjective that two others in the locker room had used in regard to Sims.

The Sixers big man scored a career-high 24 points and added nine rebounds in the team’s victory, their second in four games. Tonight, against visiting Brooklyn, they’ll go for their first winning streak since claiming four straight from Dec. 29 through Jan. 4.

The most-telling stat for Sims, beyond his point total, were his attempts from the foul line. The 6-10, 248-pounder went 14-for-18 at the foul line, including a 6-for-6 effort in the fourth quarter.

“He was in a bull mode, a really aggressive attack mode,” Brown said of Sims, who came to the Sixers as part of the trade-deadline deal that cast off Spencer Hawes. “He’d bury his head and try to get to the rim at all costs. In the first half, I thought he’d rush things when he was at a block. When he turns and faces things, he can catch and go, and play out of a dribble-handoff game at the top of the key area. He has a surprising first step and a fantastic mentality. With that it produced an aggression attack.”

Sims has been on a roll of late. He’s had a double-figure scoring total in seven of his last eight games, during which he’s also had two 20-point games. He’s also been a 77.3-percent shooter from the free-throw line. Not bad for a guy who shot 57.1 percent while with Cleveland.

When asked whether he’d ever had 18 attempts from the foul line in a single game at any level, Sims said no. (“If I did, I’d have had 40 (points),” he said.)

“Better opportunity here. More shots going up, more opportunities to get to the line,” Sims said. “I feel like I’m playing my game and Coach notices it. I’m still coming in every day, defensively and rebounding. Those are the two big things for me. Everything else is just extra.”

Thaddeus Young is seeing what Sims is doing.

“Very aggressive,” Young said, electing to use the operative word. “He went out there and played really, really aggressive. That’s the Henry I like to see all the time. When he’s aggressive, he’s always in attack mode. I encourage him all of the time to just continue to stay aggressive and be confident within yourself.”

Another standout from the win over the Celtics was Elliot Williams.

The reserve guard scored 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting overall and a 2-for-3 effort from 3-point range in 26 minutes. In his last 10 outings, Williams has shined. He’s averaged 8.4 points in 21.1 minutes per game, while shooting .484 from the field. Then compare those numbers against his season totals: 61 appearances, 5.6 points, 16.5 minutes, .396 field-goal percentage.

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