(PHOTO CREDIT: ASHLEY LANDIS/USA TODAY SPORTS)
The Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 1st Round of the NBA playoffs 109-101 on Monday Night. Jason Tatum (32pts) & Jaylen Brown (29pts) combined for 62 points while Kemba Walker added 19 points of his own. The Sixers had 5 players in double figures with Joel Embiid leading them with 26 points and 16 rebounds but it just wasn’t enough to get the win.
Sloppy Sixers Turnovers
Coming out in the first half and being so careless with basketball is inexcusable. The Sixers had 13 first-half turnovers that lead to 16 Celtics points. The turnovers, caused by 7 different players, helped Boston to 12 more shot attempts too. It is amazing they were only down by 6 at the break. Al Horford telegraphing passes to Marcus Smart comes to mind along with bad passes from all the guards. Joel Embiid led the Sixers in turnovers with 5. He needs to get better at passing out of the double team as well has stop putting the ball on the floor when in the low post.
Tatum & Brown (61 PTS)
The Sixers couldn’t stop Tatum or Brown. When Tatum went out the Sixers made a run but then Jaylen Brown got hot as well. Tobias Harris could not get around any screen. The only answer seemed to be Matisse Thybulle. Thybulle had 3 fouls in 33 minutes which is a significant improvement. If he can stay out of foul trouble then you almost have to try starting him on Tatum. Tatum shot 2/9 for 4 points and had a shot blocked when guarded by Thybulle. Even with both players going off the Sixers only lost by 8 points.
Celtics Get Loose Balls
The game was lost right here. The Sixers fought back to take the lead so the game was still in hand. The Celtics seemed up to come up with the ball at key moments. They generated 16 points off rebounds which can suck the energy out of you. Remember in the 4th when Enes Kanter outhustled Joel Embiid for an offensive rebound? That play led to the game-tying 3 and the Sixers never recovered from there. The Celtics wanted it more than the Sixers and Joel Embiid has to come up with that rebound.
ISO No Flow Offense
I mean. Do we even have a real offense? Where is the ball movement? There were a few nice passes and couple backdoor cuts which were very nice to see. For the most part, I remember Isolation basketball no matter who the player trying to create off the dribble. Sometimes it was Alec Burks, who played great again off the bench. Other times, it was Joel Embiid trying to back himself down into the post or telegraphing an obvious pump and drive that would be stolen. How about spreading the floor and feeding the post?
Embiid No Touches “Down Low” Late in the 4th
Joel Embiid had an 11 point first quarter, a 2 pt second-quarter, and a 6 pt third-quarter. What happened in the 4th quarter? Well, he did score 7 points so it’s not as if he disappeared but late in the 4th the Sixers did not even seem concerned with getting him the ball. He also missed a few tip shot rebounds that he needs to make for this team to win. Outside of a three-point shot with 14 seconds left down 6, other players were taking the big shots down the stretch. Why?
Joel Embiid is the reason I have the Sixers winning this series in six games. The Celtics have no one that can match up with him. He put up to 26 points and grabbed 16 rebounds which are great numbers for the box score. The Celtics would welcome those numbers every game this series because they know it is not good enough. Joel Embiid needs to do more or this season will be over very shortly.
“I gotta do more. Whatever the stats are, I’ve got to do more. I’ve got one job to do, to carry us. I’m going to need my teammates to help me. But I’ve got to do more.” – Joel Embiid
The only person who can beat Joel Embiid in this series is Joel Embiid.
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