The Sixers had a chance to even the series against Boston in Game 2 of the first round. While everything started out fine the Sixers were quickly outmatched. The game became a blowout before you could say “Trust the Process”.
It was an absolute embarrassment, the kind that Head Coach Brett Brown has become all too accustomed to.
After a Game 2 like that, the Sixers must take some serious inventory of the team or they risk being swept.
Embiid Heard Everyone And it Didn’t Matter
Joel Embiid came out as motivated as we’ve seen him scoring nine points in the first five minutes. The plan early and often was to give the ball to Embiid and unsurprisingly it was working.
Embiid was also passing out of the post better than ever before assisting on back-to-back threes (Richardson, Milton). After a near seven-minute run, Embiid had already racked up nine points, three rebounds, and three assists. By the end of the quarter, Embiid scored 15 of the Sixers’ 33 points.
Much was made of the star’s lackluster game one and many made it clear they thought Embiid needed to step up. The Sixers’ Center heard everyone and made his presence known.
Embiid did what he could but basketball is a team sport. The hard fact remains that none of his teammates (or coaches) did him any favors.
The Sixers’ New-Look Lineup
In an attempt to solve Jayson Tatum, Brett Brown unveiled a new look lineup swapping out Al Horford for Matisse Thybulle. This was again something many were clamoring for after Game One but the results were essentially the same.
The Sixers frankly do not have anyone who can match-up with Jayson Tatum. While Matisse Thybulle may be the best man for the job, that doesn’t mean he’s capable of stopping Tatum.
A minus 30 according to box +/- (if you care for that sort of stat) showed that Thybulle was simply out-manned by Tatum.
Moving Horford to the bench didn’t solve the Sixers defensive issues as the defensive sieve known as Tobias Harris was still in the starting lineup. There’s, unfortunately, nothing that can be done about that yet though as the Sixers have too much committed to the alleged stretch four.
Whether Brett Brown uses this new-look lineup or makes another adjustment to the squad the outcome will likely be the same.
This Summer Must Bring Change
No, the series isn’t over and the Sixers could still potentially go on a run but barring a miraculous trip to the Finals, the Sixers are looking at yet another summer of drastic change.
Every Sixer should be under evaluation except for the following:
Shake Milton (unless a brilliant trade offer comes along)
Three names you may have noticed are missing and they certainly deserve more than one section of discussion but believe me, that will come.
To start with the obvious, Al Horford’s place on the team must be evaluated. This is not surprising and instead of reviewing all the many reasons the Sixers should move on from Horford, here is a list of articles about why Horford should be traded and how.
Next is Josh Richardson who has performed better than most Sixers in this series so far. While he is extremely versatile and likable, Richardson’s fit is questionable and after next season he will be a free agent. The time to move is now.
Finally, Tobias Harris’ position with the team should be reviewed this offseason. This could mean whether or not he should remain a Sixer but it could also mean his literal position.
Tobias Harris is a “tweener” meaning that he is somewhere in between a Small Forward and a Power Forward. If he cannot consistently knock down his three-point shot then he is worthless at Small Forward as again he is a sieve defensively. If Ben Simmons in meant to be the Sixers’ Power Forward of the future well then I’ll let you guys which one the front office would rather keep.
Speaking of the front office, they’re not immune from this either. Some in Philadelphia are already calling for their jobs and perhaps rightfully so.
Sixers, Celtics Game 3
The Sixers must move on to Game 3 and not dwell on the past. This Celtics team is beatable and the Sixers even have the pieces if utilized properly. The series isn’t over until it’s over but now’s the time to fight back.
To see if they Sixers fight or falter, you can watch Game 3 this Friday, August 21st. Tip-off will be at 6:30 PM EST and you can watch the game on either TNT or NBC Sports Philadelphia. If you cannot watch or prefer the sweet sultry tones of Tom McGinnis, you can listen as always at 97.5 FM The Fanatic.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire