Sixers feeling happy they can turn to Shake Milton when short-handed

The Philadelphia 76ers were short-handed as they invaded Paycom Center on New Year’s Eve to match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sixers needed somebody to step up in the place of the injured James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, and once again, Shake Milton answered the call.

In Saturday’s easy win over the Thunder on the road, Milton had 18 points and five assists. Now, this is what the Sixers should have done. The Thunder are a rebuilding team and even with Philadelphia missing so many pieces, they were still the better team when also considering that Oklahoma City was missing pieces as well.

With that being said, it is a comfort for the Sixers to be able to just throw Milton in there and have him handle things while out on the floor. As a starter, he’s now averaging 20.9 points and shooting 54.2% from the floor compared to 6.7 points and 47.6% shooting when coming off the bench.

“He was comfortable,” coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the win. “He attacked, went downhill. We got to keep him doing that when he’s not in that role too, and I thought he was doing it overall, but he was up and down and we got to keep him doing that.”

Maybe it’s a sense of urgency that Milton plays with knowing that the Sixers are relying on him to do more with the team being short-handed compared to the team being full strength and coming off the bench.

“I feel comfortable,” Milton said of stepping when needed. “I think that’s something that I can do, but also I feel like I can play any role the team needs in order to help the team win. We had guys out so I was able to step up and help my team a little bit, but playing with these guys, it’s really easy. Everybody’s unselfish and when we play with the type of energy we played tonight, we’re pretty good.”

Either way, if the Sixers can get this type of play out of Milton when he comes off the bench, it would be a huge help. He won’t average 20 points, but he is a player capable of scoring in double figures off the bench and he has to be able to tap into that in order to help the Sixers win games.

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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire