Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry had been on the shelf since Jan. 6 after he tested positive for COVID on Jan. 7 and the team has had to make do without him. No matter who they plugged in, it was clear that they were missing the sharpshooter out of Duke.
He made his return on Friday in a 122-110 win over the Boston Celtics and he made an impact immediately. He had eight points in the opening minutes knocking down some tough 3-pointers and he finished with 15 points while shooting 3-for-5 from deep overall. Not bad for a guy who had to isolate for two weeks.
“I was surprised,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I never could shoot. I guess when you can shoot, you can shoot. You can take 10 days off or two weeks off and still make shots because at the beginning of the game I was like ‘this guy has missed games?’ I was surprised how well he shot the ball and how good his rhythm was.”
Curry’s presence makes life so much easier for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to operate because of that shooting ability. He can get to his spots on the perimeter and he can fire it up there just as he did on Friday in the win.
“I love playing with him,” said Simmons. “He makes the game easy. He sees the floor well. He doesn’t force anything, he doesn’t force shots, he’s got a great IQ in the way he plays. He’s unselfish and when he’s on fire, he’s on fire.”
Teams are going to aggressively double and triple Embiid every time he touches the ball regardless of who’s out there with him, but now that he has Curry back out there to kick out too, it does make a huge difference rather than passing out to the unproven players.
“He’s huge for us,” said Embiid. “You look at tonight, it looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. He went 3-for-5 from 3 today, he made some key plays, and he helps us all because you gotta guard him. Teams are gonna double and triple-team me, but it makes the game easier for me when I got to pass it out.”
The Sixers now have to build that chemistry with Curry and the rest of the team to continue to grow into the title contender that they want to build. As long as they take it game by game, they will be in a good position.
They will hit the road to face the Detroit Pistons on Saturday for a two-game series in the Motor City.
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