The Sixers head to the Capital One Arena tonight to take on the Wizards in an important game three. With a two-game lead and a ton of momentum, Philadelphia will be coming in hot. In case you missed any of the action so far, I’m here to ‘break it down’.
Leading by example
Simmons blew the doors off the hinges in game two after his opening playoff performance drew scrutiny. 22 points, 9 boards and 8 assists don’t do his impact justice. Simmons was the engine that the offense ran through in a blowout win, making a firm statement after a much closer opening contest.
He’s been followed closely by Tobias Harris, who is averaging 28 points and 7.5 rebounds per game through two showdowns after a career-high 37 in game one. Doc Rivers has been able to push the Sixers offense to a new level of pace that has presented some big holes for Harris to pick apart, dominating his one-on-one matchups.
Embiid has not only given us a D-Generation-X throwback celebration, but has been as dominant as we all knew he would be. While his points were down in game 2, it’s largely because of the huge lead that the Sixers built up.
Expect all three to once again play a huge role tonight.
There have been plenty of questions surrounding how Doc Rivers would deploy his bench unit in the playoffs. Would there be a fusion of starters and backups, or the all-bench unit that has been experimented with on numerous occasions?
Every Sixers player available appeared in the 120-95 game two win over the Wizards, including debut postseason minutes for Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe. Tyrese Maxey continues to flash when he’s on the court and this has raised some speculation as to what it means for Shake Milton’s short-term future in terms of playoff minutes. If the Sixers do jump out to an early lead and are able to double down as time goes on, expect another healthy dose of youthful minutes.
This would be a best-case scenario for the Sixers, who would be afforded an opportunity to tinker with lineups and see which players are picking up momentum prior to advancing to the next round where those cushions may not be as comfortable.
Tobias Harris and Seth Curry both had minor ankle scares in game two and are still listed as day-to-day on the injury report. Both players are reportedly going to be ready by the time the two teams clash at 7PM EST.
On the Wizards‘ side of things, Russell Westbrook is officially questionable after tweaking his ankle by accidentally stepping on Furkan Korkmaz. While the headlines from the game centralized around the now-infamous popcorn incident, the big news here is that the veteran missed practice on Friday. If the Wizards are going to be without the intensity and leadership of the former MVP and nine-time All-star, then there’s very little chance they can muster up enough strength to win this game.
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