The Sixers began the first round of the playoffs tonight against the hated Boston Celtics. This game has been long awaited for many reasons, one being what Philadelphia would look like without star Ben Simmons.
The early results were promising but the Sixers were unable to hold game one.
One of the keys to the game was to get Joel Embiid going early and often and he did just that making his first five shots.
To Everything (Turnover, Turnover, Turnover)
Okay, maybe a reference from the Byrds is a little outdated but the point stands. One of the biggest killers for the Sixers’ tonight was their inability to take care of the ball.
During the first half especially, the Sixers struggled to protect the rock and it kept them from gaining any significant ground on the Celtics.
With 13 turnovers in the first half, the Sixers barely gave themselves a chance. While they only committed five turnovers in the second half, the Celtics only committed seven for the entire game.
Clearly, the Sixers struggled with turnovers on both ends of the court. It’s extremely difficult to see this team winning the series when they’re +11 in turnovers every game.
Something has to change and that change must be inspired by the Head Coach. Speaking of…
Really Brett Brown? Really?
Brett Brown was far from top shape tonight. The seven-year Head Coach for the Philadelphia 76ers struggled to control his team whether it be turnovers, poor shot selection, or not shot select (we’ll get to that soon).
The Sixers seemed unable to find a rhythm and much of that can be attributed to Coach Brown’s inability to pivot the game plan.
The Celtics were double-teaming Embiid early and often and yet Brown did not encourage the proper movement to help out his star. While Embiid’s four first-half turnovers are his own, Brett Brown certainly didn’t do him any favors.
Brown also seemingly took the ball out of Embiid’s hands in the second half. Was it due to Embiid’s turnovers? Maybe trying to preserve Embiid for the final stretch of the game? We’ll never know but whatever the case, it didn’t work and was a foolish idea.
Again, Brett Brown cannot be held fully responsible for his players’ decision making.
Which brings us to:
The Sixers Need an Aggressive Embiid
Joel Embiid took fifteen shots from the floor tonight. He took eight in the first half and a paltry seven in the second. No matter how many free-throws he shoots (12 tonight), that is entirely too few for a game.
After the game Embiid had this to say postgame:
He absolutely must do more. Even if Brett Brown’s game plan deviates from Embiid, he is the star, he is the go-to option. He has every right to demand the ball in the post and bully the Celtics down low.
It even worked during the entire first quarter, the Sixers had seven turnovers but still held a one-point lead.
If the Sixers are to win this series the game plan must start and end with Embiid. That’s up to both Coach Brown and Embiid but no one has more control than the later.
Or so one would think…
Sixers, Celtics Game Two
The Sixers will have a chance to redeem themselves on Wednesday, August 19th. Tip-off is once again at 6:30 PM EST and you can watch the game on either TNT or NBC Sports Philadelphia. If you rather listen live you can as always at 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
The Sixers will have plenty of adjustments to make before game two. Hopefully, we’ll see the team bounce back.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire