It was a coronary heart breaker this night, because the Jap Convention’s prime regular-season seeded Sixers misplaced at house to the upstart fifth seed, the Atlanta Hawks, 103-96. The sport by no means felt comfy because the Sixers regarded tight and clumsy nearly the whole manner. With ten turnovers within the first half, and a bunch of blown simple pictures, they wound up almost doubling Atlanta’s turnovers, 17-10. The turnovers had been an enormous situation for them in recreation 1, once they opened the sport simply handing the ball away again and again and tonight had an analogous vibe from the leap. Oh, and issues acquired extra painful from there. Then the chilly capturing began.
Whereas they did a good sufficient job defensively on the entire, holding Atlanta to 44 p.c from the sphere, and 25.6 from deep, they struggled to shoot themselves as properly. Philly as a crew related on simply 42.5 p.c from the sphere and 32 p.c from 3. They felt tight from the early going after which the gang began to sound a bit anxious themselves.
They did survive an enormous Trae Younger recreation. Younger had a horrific night time capturing, at simply 5-23 and 2-11 from deep. In the event you knew solely that, you’d most likely begin celebrating early. And Bogdan Bogdanovic, coping with a knee situation, was simply 2-8. So principally, the Hawks star wasn’t superb, and their second-best perimeter scorer was too harm to assist. However Kevin Huerter completely destroyed the Sixers.
The dude nicknamed Crimson Velvet picked on Seth Curry like he did in recreation two and he went 10-18 on Sunday, trying like among the finest gamers within the recreation on both squad.
Joel Embiid did what he might on some torn cartilage in his proper knee. There is part of me as a fan that may be a teeny tiny bit relieved he received’t should proceed to play on a torn proper meniscus. We’ll see down the street right here if he’ll want low season surgical procedure. However Joel Embiid, regardless of making use of stress along with his 31 factors and 11 rebounds on simply 21 pictures, he was one of many Sixers greatest culprits with almost half of their turnovers, totaling 8.
It was lots simpler to look previous the difficulty when the crew was lacking Ben Simmons within the bubble through the first spherical a yr in the past. However heading into his eighth yr since being drafted, Embiid goes to should cope with one other harm this summer season and he is once more going to should work on discovering methods to restrict turnovers. As sensible of a season as he had, and let’s discover a option to admire that regardless of the ache as a result of he was really sensible, the issues in his in any other case stellar recreation are constant and can must be addressed if he’s going to take this crew to the following stage sooner or later.
He’s going to should work on his landings on monster dunks or restrict his dunks or each, (quite a few accidents he’s handled over his profession have come from dunks and dunk makes an attempt) and he’s going to should proceed to enhance as a passer.
However Joel wasn’t the large drawback right here. He was a pleasing shock after we accepted he was going to play with a torn knee. The Sixers squandered 22 and 26 level leads in video games 4 and 5. That was the most important drawback of this collection. They need to have merely wrapped this factor up earlier than tonight.
Ben Simmons had foul hassle and whereas he contributed mightily to a fantastic defensive effort on Younger, he was absent offensively in a manner that has form of needlessly plagued the Sixers for months now. The teaching workers doesn’t seem too comfy handing him the ball and letting him run the offense, so he spends what looks like numerous possessions form of hiding within the “dunker spot.”
And whereas there are many issues to very fairly criticize Simmons for, like his completely, positively disgusting free throw capturing these playoffs (25-74, clearly some type of yips proper?) or problem ending or willingness to fade right into a “recreation plan” (maybe largely as a result of he’s anxious about getting fouled like tonight when he handed up a wide-open dunk to a cutter) it’s additionally baffling to see him play so properly in a recreation 5 towards Washington, then be used like he has no ball abilities by any means within the half-court for big chunks of the following collection, whereas Tobias Harris shoots 24 instances, regardless of a nightmare closeout recreation.
After the sport, Embiid didn’t pull any punches, citing the second Simmons turned down an open jam to cross to Thybulle who wound up getting hacked and splitting a pair from the road.
Joel Embiid: “I will be sincere. I believed the turning level was once we — I do not know how you can say it — is once we had an open shot and we made one free throw…”
— Wealthy Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) June 21, 2021
That may’t bode properly for a relationship that will have a checkered historical past.
As for Tobias Harris. That was very very painful to observe. He was clearly tight, and simply couldn’t end across the rim this night. He had had an excellent yr, was a borderline All-Star and salvaged what regarded like a significant bounce-back season for himself. However what so many will bear in mind is what number of dunks or layups he merely bricked this night.
Harris Scored 24 factors on 24 pictures, which isn’t environment friendly. However to make issues worse, the Sixers for some purpose continued to depend on him, as if he had been scorching, or would ultimately get scorching. Virtually as if he had been Paul George. And it simply by no means occurred.
Dwight Howard was a extremely huge drawback for Coach Doc Rivers. Howard was a -29 over his 142 playoff minutes. It wasn’t particularly tough to foresee that taking place as a result of he was a team-worst -66 in his 1,196 regular-season minutes. A number of analysts joked that he was destined to grow to be Doc Rivers’ new Montrez Harrell, a participant who Rivers overutilized in a playoff-melt down through the bubble, the place Doc’s Clips blew a 3-1 collection lead together with some double-digit leads in key video games to Denver. As loveable and enjoyable as Howard was, though he might have been a terrific signing for the Sixers at his low value and definitely price having, the coach merely over-relied on him all season lengthy and it translated into the playoffs too.
Howard was a -23 in 70 minutes of motion towards Atlanta. Throughout their 4 losses, he was a -37 in 36 minutes. There can be Greg Monroe jokes, ebook it.
A lot hung within the steadiness tonight. Had the Sixers received, they might have mentioned they lastly shook the second-round monkey on their again. They had been the one seed. That they had a DPOY candidate in Ben Simmons, an MVP runner up and All-NBA participant in Joel Embiid. And a pair of All-Defensive crew members in Simmons and Matisse Thybulle. As a substitute, there’s a whole low season forward to consider how this kind of collection loss might have been averted.
Final season many had been troubled by how little the crew acquired from Al Horford and Tobias Harris regardless of their big contracts. This low season, there can be followers questioning the identical factor about Harris and Ben Simmons. Ben averaged 6.4 area purpose makes an attempt this collection. It’s astounding.
Extra dangerous stuff:
- Matisse Thybulle was a -34 in 136 minutes that collection. He had some flashes however he couldn’t discover methods to keep away from lots of the controversial sneaky fouls Trae Younger attracts and he dedicated principally a recreation sealing 3 shot foul making an attempt on an formidable block from behind on Huerter tonight. Had he merely contested that shot they might have had an opportunity to tie. He took a large open nook 3 that may have put them up 7 with simply over seven minutes to go. That one harm too. I believed that was a much bigger turning level than the one Embiid referred to, submit recreation.
- Furkan Korkmaz, Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, George Hill, Dwight Howard, and Shake Milton shot 6-20 mixed. Add in Harris’ 8-24 stinker and that’s 14-44 from a giant a part of your crew. Unbelievable.
- George Hill was a -15 tonight in his 22 minutes. The Sixers traded Zhaire Smith for Tony Bradley, after which Tony Bradley for Hill and he didn’t fairly look proper within the uniform. I do know he spent the majority of his run with Dwight in lineups that didn’t work. However perhaps that thumb by no means healed proper. He was price having however man, they missed Danny Inexperienced.
There’s time for all of that and I’m positive we’ll have loads of concepts ourselves and our readers will too. However for now, man, it simply stinks to lose a collection that was so dang winnable. In the event you’re in search of vibrant spots, there are a number of:
It was most likely at all times about 2022 for this crew. That will have been why Daryl Morey didn’t push all his chips into the center making an attempt to get James Harden or Kyle Lowry. Watching them grind out that recreation tonight and win might need even supplied false hope in sure gamers or the teaching workers. Now all of that may be correctly examined. Embiid would have logged an absolute warfare with Milwaukee on a torn knee that may have gotten bigger. Having to face tough questions now, whereas preserving his well being isn’t the worst place to be in. They nonetheless have a variety of expertise, a lot if it very younger, and loads of draft picks to splash round with. Excelsior.