Everyone is feeling a lot of different emotions and has a lot of different things to say about this final series of the 2019 National Basketball Association playoffs for the Philadelphia 76ers, more specifically about the game seven conclusion that saw the Toronto Raptors come out victorious with a 4-3 series win and a score of 92-90.
On paper, this game was absolutely controlled by mostly two players on the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka, and the Sixers weren’t able to get an offensive rebound when it mattered. Giving Leonard multiple opportunities at open shots off of rebounds proved to be the dagger to the Sixers. The turnover battle favored the Raptors again, which was a key focus point even in the regular season games. However, this loss will help this team grow and there are more than a few instant takeaways that I have taken the opportunity to overview the day after the game seven exit for the Sixers in Toronto.
Getting A Quality Bench Center
Greg Monroe, Boban Marjanovic, and Amir Johnson as a unit were not successful in proving to be a quality back up for the time that Joel Embiid was off of the floor and resting for his next shift. In two hundred thirty-seven minutes with Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers were +90 against the Toronto Raptors. That’s with knee injuries, illnesses, back problems, and whatever else Embiid may have been playing through. In ninety-nine minutes without Embiid, the Sixers were -111.
This is where I believe that the Sixers really miss a player that they had in their hands during “The Process” who was able to play strong defense and compliment Embiid’s ability to create offense when he is on the floor. That player that I am hinting at is Nerlens Noel. We can only really play the “what if” game now, but there is a high probability that the Sixers pull out a win in these closer games if a center coming off the bench was able to play defense at a qualifying level.
Claiming a Sure Handed Shooter
JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler have been the closest we have had in the starting five that we can call “sure-handed” shooters on the Philadelphia 76ers. Redick stated “I would love to be back, I would love to finish my career with the Sixers,” when asked about his future. I think this is a signing that should happen. Redick had multiple three-point shots that were answers back to Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka in game seven to keep the Sixers in range to tie or lead the Toronto Raptors. Butler sounds like he needs to think about his future, which is to be expected from athletes after a mentally draining season, post-season including a game seven, and immediate thoughts the day after an elimination game. Regarding his future with the Sixers, Butler stated “I’m not here long term just yet. I’m going to go home, go on a vacation, and then map it all out.” Speaking of which…
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