The Sixers were faced with a win-or-go-home game against the Heat Thursday night after a poor showing in Miami earlier in the week. Philadelphia looked to right the ship and forced a Game 7 back in south beach but failed to accomplish that task losing in Game 6 99-90. At the start of the game, the team came out with more energy than the previous game but they could never really find a rhythm on either end of the floor. For the fourth time in five years the Sixers have been eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, this time at the hands of the Miami Heat.
Turnovers were still an issue, shots not falling in the Sixers’ favor, then adding insult to injury early in the first, the Sixers starting small forward Danny Green would go down with a leg injury. Attempting to grab a rebound Green would get tangled up with Joel Embiid, causing him to fall on his leg while it still being under his body which would ultimately cause Green not to return to the game. Green would then be seen on the Sixers bench with crutches at the end of the game. There are many reasons you can look at why the Sixers lost this game, but here are a few reasons I believe ultimately ended the season for the Sixers.
This will be debated all offseason whether it’s fair or not to judge Embiid’s play while he battled injuries or the lack of talent rostered with him. Although these are factors that played a hand in this series, The energy and effort from the big man were definitely questionable at times. In Games 3 and 4, Embiid was dominant on the defensive end of the floor, impacting the game in other ways other than scoring.
In the last two games, that same energy and effort were not there. We commend Embiid for stepping out on the floor and still playing with those injuries and only being a few days removed from a concussion. The team needed him to give them moments of dominance, and whether it was caused by injury or lack of want to, those moments never came and ultimately lowered the chances of beating this Miami Heat.
Joel Embiid has gotten better but still struggles with double teams, forcing Embiid to play more outside of the paint as he attempted 24 shots, with eight of them being three-pointers. Embiid never really established himself in the paint much in this game, mostly doing work from the perimeter.
The roster has been an issue all season, but in the end, the roster was just not good enough. The lack of consistent shooting and athleticism on this team is unacceptable. After the starters, there is not much for Doc Rivers to go to, whether it is George Niang who has not shot well this whole series. Players like Thybulle that offensively give you very little. The roster is very flawed and requires the starters to have to do more, and the team has a very little margin of error to win games. At the same time, they were going up against a team in the Heat that has depth and better talent surrounding their starters.
The Sixers started the game off with good energy early, but as the game went on once again, the energy, effort, and the fight to want to win this game lowered as the game went on. Offensively there was a lot of standing around and watching defensive mistakes and no hustle for 50/50 balls. Countless times Heat players grabbed their own rebounds after missed shots, offensive rebounds, not boxing out, the little details that are needed to win games the Sixers did not execute.
Head Coach of the Sixers, Doc Rivers, for the second year in the row, has this team eliminated in the second round. Doc Rivers failed once again to have his team motivated and ready to game in the most important games. Miami played a lot of zone against the Sixers and double a tripled teamed Embiid all game.
The team struggled against the zone, and Doc never seemed to find a solution to put his team in a position to make plays. He continued to run the same sets and offensive scheme that just did not work. Erik Spoelstra outcoach Doc Rivers making the necessary adjustments to slow down the Sixers, and Doc never found a way to counter it, leading to another loss and the Sixers now heading into the offseason.
The Sixers end this season not in the way they expected and have more questions than answered that they need to address this offseason. The roster, development of young players, James Harden contract, and even coaching. These have to be addressed this offseason if the team wishes to keep their championship window open while they still have prime Embiid years in front of them.