Nick Nurse pinpoints rebounding as area Sixers need to improve in

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Philadelphia 76ers were able to pick up an impressive 126-121 win over the Denver Nuggets at home on Tuesday on a night when Joel Embiid outplayed Nikola Jokic. The two of them went head-to-head and Embiid came out on top.

It was also a night when the Sixers were out-rebounded by the Nuggets 46-32. Denver grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, 11 of them from Jokic, and it’s an area that coach Nick Nurse wants Philadelphia to focus on to improve.

“As usual, it needs a little bit of investigation, right?” said Nurse at practice on Thursday. “There is a lot of good news on that front, but I think I’ll keep that to myself. So just the ones that are out there that are getting—there’s a lot more long ones, we just got to do a better job of reacting to the next play.”

The Sixers need to do a better job of just blocking out. In Nurse’s eyes, he sees too many rebounds slipping away due to poor boxing out or just not following their principles.

“Like we always say, tag somebody,” said Nurse. “That’d be the blocking out part and then pursue. We’re doing a decent job of tagging and we’re not pursuing, right? It’s kind of like, two plays, right? It’s two plays and we try to anticipate when it is missed, and when it is going long. Now your tag is over with and it turns into a foot race a lot of times so that’s what we’re trying to work on.”

At the moment, Philadelphia ranks 19th in the league in total rebounds per Team Rankings. Not terrible, but it’s an area Nurse would like to see the team improve in. The Sixers will need to be better in that area in order to get to where they want to go.

“We’ve continued to do decent at that, right?” Nurse added. “I think the defensive rebounding is the one that’s taken the biggest hit. The offensive rebounding’s dropped a bit, but it’s still pretty, pretty productive on that. I think we’ve done a better job here recently of not over-crashing or at least having a balanced crash and get back combination. Which was a little bit of problem too. We gave up a few too many transition buckets here, but we cleaned that up a little bit. So I’m okay with the offense, I’d like it to be better. The defense has to get better.”

With all the talk of rebounding, that was a focal point at practice on Thursday as the Sixers prepare for the Magic to begin a quick 2-game trip.

“I think where we can do better is just having more people helping out down there,” added Paul Reed. “Even if they’re not getting the rebound, just hitting somebody. Just keeping their man off the glass or even just like even doubling-teaming their guy to keep them off the glass. It’s things like that will help us get more rebounds for sure.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire