Sixers Fall Short Against Jokic, Nuggets

NBA: APR 09 76ers at Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LA – APR 09: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers reacts to a play against New Orleans Pelicans during a NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on Apr 09, 2021. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

Matchups between the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets are different than many in the NBA thanks to the rivalry between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. The two are far and away, the best at their position. The two are constantly battling for the title of top dog, and any games played are like a boxing match between two fighters. Last night’s game had the energy surrounding it that one would expect; however, in the end, the 76ers fell short in disappointing fashion.

While the battle of the MVP candidates was undoubtedly exciting, the result was the same ol’ same ol’ for Philadelphia. Leading early thanks to Embiid dominating followed by losing said lead as the 76ers’ bench continues to look unplayable. At a certain point, one has to wonder what can change between now and the playoffs. Unfortunately, the answer is very little.

What’s the Solution?

This is the team the 76ers will be rolling with heading into the postseason, so the question becomes, “how to maximize this team’s potential?” That responsibility rests on the shoulders of the team’s Head Coach, Doc Rivers. While players play the game, Rivers’ job is to put them in the best position to succeed. He was brought to Philly thanks to his “championship pedigree,” and it’s time that he busts out some of that top-notch coaching that secured him that title in 2008.

Whether it’s staggering the team’s stars in a more efficient manner or actually implementing an offense that consists of more than iso-ball and desperately trying to draw contact, something has to change as the Sixers cannot expect to win while playing this brand of basketball.

Where Do the 76ers Go From Here?

There are two paths ahead of the 76ers. One path leads to Finals contention; however, they must learn how to adapt in order to navigate the aforementioned path. The second is a far easier road to travel, but it does not lead where the team desires to go. It leads to nowhere, but continued disappointment and a road such as that can be very difficult on a team’s chemistry. For their own sake, Philadelphia should take the first path without question.

For now, the Sixers will have the night off as they prepare to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. It will not be an easy game by any means, but it has quickly become a must-win as the team has to stop the bleeding.

The game will be played in Cleveland with a 7:00 PM EST tip-off time.