Film Room Series Preview: 76ers Half Court Offense

12 mins read

Film Room Series Preview: 76ers Half Court Offense


Before tip-off on Saturday night, Toronto will surely be well-versed in every scripted play that Philadelphia will run. In the first of three parts to the this film room series preview, i’ll break down 14 of Philadelphia’s most frequently run plays in the half court.


For easy navigation, time-stamped parts of the video have been embedded under the header of each play.


“Elbow” Series


  • This series is a staple to the 76ers’ half court offense. With a ball-reversal to the weak side Elbow to trigger the play, the 76ers are using this to get into their patented Embiid-Redick DHO (dribble hand off).


  • Embiid and Redick are completely in sync with one another, and depending on which way the defense reacts, they are ready to make the right read to leverage their advantage. Whether Redick pulls up with the Big sagging back, or he dumps it off to Embiid after drawing two defenders, the 76ers are lethal in this action.


  • What Toronto is likely to do is to force the ball away from Redick and Embiid’s side of the floor and force the other 76ers to shoot the ball, while leveraging Simmons’ defender to load up on the DHO while still defending a kick-out pass to their shooters.


  • An interesting wrinkle the 76ers run out of this action is the “Inverted Pick & Roll” to combat the “Top-Lock”. Embiid is heady enough to use the Raptors’ own defender as a screener as he barrels to the rim when preventing Redick from getting the handoff.


“12” – 5:33

  • This action is a key play the 76ers run during EOQ and EOG (end of quarter/game) scenarios.
  • With Simmons handling the ball and 2 Wing players on the Weak Side of the floor, the 76ers will engage in an action that utilizes all three of Simmons, Redick and Embiid at once.
  • Simmons will always be handling the ball on the right side of the floor with Embiid in the near-side corner. As Redick comes to set the screen, Simmons is usually able to punish the defense by driving to the rim against a smaller screen defender.
  • If both defenders jump to Simmons’ drive, Redick will almost always slip to the perimeter and Simmons is more than willing to kick the ball out for a spot-up jumper.
  • Lastly, Simmons and Redick will often engage in a DHO themselves instead of the normal ball screen. They can even swing the ball to Embiid in the Strong Side corner as a release valve and second entry point to the Redick DHO.


“C Roll Point” – 9:47


A common theme should be emerging – and will continue to crystallize – of Redick being the catalyst for much of what the 76ers do offensively. While he is far from the most talented player, the thread of Redick running around off-ball screens makes everything work for the other 4 players.


  • Play is triggered by a ball reversal through the trailing big to the Weak Side of the floor, while Redick makes a Flex cut along the baseline.
  • This sets up “Floppy” action, where Redick can use baseline screens on either side of the floor for a catch and shoot jumper.
  • As with all other actions, when Redick draws two defenders on-the-catch, he is very adept at making the dump-off pass to the screener.
  • Occasionally, instead of Redick using the pindown screen out of Floppy, he will set a Rip screen for an Embiid post up.


“Ear Tug” – 13:04

  • This is another staple of the 76ers half court offense and is run with very high frequency. This is in part due to the main action having the adaptability to flow into other previously discussed plays, such as “C Roll Point” after they disguise it with the “Ear Tug” trigger.


  • While the personnel is interchangeable, the action that triggers this play is always one player at the Elbow screening away for the opposite Elbow. The 76ers get an alley-oop out of this nearly every game. The screener’s defender must be prepared to “drop” back to contain the lob threat, or weak side help to bump the cut and impede progress.
  • If they don’t get the alley-oop because the screener’s defender sags into the lane, the screener will pop out. Typically leads to an Embiid jumper or an attack of a closeout.
  • If the lob threat is taken away, the big pops, and no scoring advantage is created, the 76ers will flow into one of two actions. The first being a “Gut DHO”, in which the cutter meant to receive the lob will circle back from the baseline and get a hand off near the free throw line.
  • If they don’t go to the Gut DHO action, they’ll typically just flow into a post up.


“Thumb Point” – 19:52


  • Very similar to “C Roll Point”, just without the Flex cut/cross screen to initiate. Just a straight Floppy play for Redick.
  • Redick is incredibly dynamic and is incredible at creating separation/an advantage that defense’s will usually “dig” at his catch from the Nail (with the passer’s defender).
  • 76ers wisely combat this by having the passer (mainly Simmons) immediately sprint into a cut so he can receive a kick out pass from Redick “on the run” while his defender’s head is turned paying attention to Redick.
  • If the help comes from the screener’s defender, Redick will make the dump-off pass to the screener.


Side Elbow – 24:13


  • This play is less scripted, in that the main action can occur out of various triggers. Ultimately, they will always get to a Wing entry with a Big flashing to the Elbow, and the remaining 3 players on the Weak Side of the floor.
  • Again, this is a play to get Redick (and other wings) into a 2-man action with Embiid. Depending on the aggressiveness of the defense, it will flow into a DHO or a bump-back cut to the corner for 3m as well as any other basic reads.
  • They have tons of little wrinkles, such as the aforementioned “Inverted pick and roll”, “keeper” option out of the DHO, a lob set, and a “Hammer” wrinkle.


“Cross” – 28:21


  • A cross screen that is used by successive cutters — this is mainly an action to get Embiid early post position.
  • If the Embiid post up is unavailable, the cross-screener will get a pindown screen for themselves.
  • A sparingly used counter that leverages Embiid’s versatility is for him to reject the cross screen and instead use the pindown screen for himself. This allows him to pop to the perimeter for a jumper.


Zipper Stack Fist – 31:17


  • This ATO (after time out) special is triggered by a Zipper cut that is followed by the 76ers “Ear Tug” action. This is just fluff to set up their Stack Pick and Roll, in which Redick back screens the roller.


Zipper Gut DHO (ATO) – 33:03


  • Another ATO play triggered by a Zipper Cut
  • The Big that makes the Zipper cut and catches the ball at the nail will engage in a Gut DHO — typically to get Tobias Harris the ball


Zipper Horns DHO – 35:02


  • Another play triggered by a Zipper Cut — this time to enter the ball to the Elbow in a loose Horns formation.
  • The passer then engages in a screening action with the opposite Elbow player so they can receive a DHO for a jumper. Usually for Harris, Redick, or Butler.
  • Sometimes they reverse the action so the screen & DHO occurs along the wing.


Middle Pin Twirl (ATO) – 38:23


  • Another ATO set — Embiid sets a pindown for Redick, who then tightly curls and sets a pindown for Embiid. This is to get a quick mid range jumper for Embiid.


Double Drag Oklahoma – 39:38


  • With Simmons as the ball handler, he will dribble into a Double Drag Screen in which the second screener rolls into the first screener to set a down screen.


Horns High-Low – 41:21


  • Very basic quick hitter out of Horns for Embiid.
  • If post position is not fought for early, Embiid will seal his defender and put them in the restricted area.


“Slice” – 43:18


  • Quick hitter for Simmons to get a lob or catch in the restricted area.
  • If no scoring advantage occurs on the catch, will flow into a post up or a DHO out of the post.


Look out for parts 2 and 3 to drop in the following days


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