The Sixers are up against the wall and have one more shot at making the Eastern Conference Finals. Here’s what to watch in game 7.
Joel Embiid is running on fumes (understandably so), Ben Simmons has disappeared offensively this series, and the Sixers bench has been more inconsistent than ever. What can Doc Rivers and squad do to earn an opportunity to face off against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks?
Ben Simmons MUST Be Aggressive
Ben Simmons MUST be more aggressive offensively. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Simmons has taken three total shots combined in the second halves of the previous three games. That’s completely unacceptable for a star in the NBA. Simmons doesn’t have to score 30, but he’s leaving his team (Embiid) out to dry by not at least attempting more shots.
Simmons has a history of underperforming then having a stellar game when everyone has given up on him, so hopefully, this is the latest occurrence of such an event. If not, the Sixers (and their fans) are likely in for a long night.
Time For Joel Embiid To Give It Everything He’s Got
Not to say that Embiid hasn’t done such so far, but this could truly be the last opportunity he has to do so this season. It’s put up and shut up time for the entire team, and it starts with their leader, Joel Embiid.
Considering all factors, Embiid has performed wonderfully in this series, his deficiencies often coming as a result of having to carry too much of the load on one leg. Hopefully, Embiid will have some help in tonight’s game, but at this point, it’s certainly not something that he can bank on.
Embiid will need to give all he has and more tonight once again. While that’s not “fair,” that’s leadership, and if there’s one thing Embiid has proven this season, it’s that he’s the unquestioned leader of this team.
Sixers Future Could Hinge On This Game
“Two roads diverged on a Yellow Hardwood,” the Sixers cannot travel both, but this Game 7 will force them down one path or the other. One road, traveled with a victory tonight, leads the team to a matchup against the clearly flawed Milwaukee Bucks and potentially a Finals matchup against the unimpressive Phoenix Suns or LA Clippers.
It’s strange to say, but if the Sixers beat the Atlanta Hawks tonight, they actually have a chance, not just to make the NBA Finals, but to win. Should that be the case, the City of Philadelphia would go ballistic in celebration, and The Process could finally be realized.
The other road, a much darker path. One where the Sixers lose tonight, and many call for everything to fall apart. If the Sixers lose in this series, it’s not unconscionable for the team to look drastically different by the start of next season.
Joel Embiid isn’t going anywhere, no matter what. Could he demand a trade? Sure, but that would be extremely unlikely, much to the chagrin of Miami Heat fans. Much more likely, Joel Embiid’s frustrations would find their way to Daryl Morey, who would already be in the process of looking for ways to improve the team.
The reality of the situation is that a loss tonight will lead to a dramatic change in roster construction. While that may not necessarily be a bad thing in and of itself, clearly, each and every fan should be pulling for this team to win tonight as they may not have another chance such as this.