Sixers vs. Nets Game 2: One Thought On Each Sixer
A bizarre one in South Philly.
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
Game 2 of what the Sixers hope will be a long and memorable playoff run was an incredibly bizarre one. Let’s try something a bit different as we look back at the game -- here’s one tidbit on each player the Sixers utilized in their regular rotation tonight.
After taking a frustratingly-small amount of shots and free throws in the first half, Embiid finally came alive offensively in the second half, asserting himself down low against Brooklyn’s weaker frontcourt.
One more thing: Embiid grabbed 15 rebounds in the first half. He has certainly never done that before. His rebounding numbers have been up-and-down all year, but once again, he utilized his massive size and strength advantages.
For the second straight game, Harden looked like a shell of his usual self. He could barely score inside the arc despite repeatedly getting to the rim. He joked after Game 1 that he needs to work on making layups. But that is the reality here!
Another cause for concern: Harden has still not shot a single free throw in this series, despite being given a heavy workload as the primary ball-handler. The Sixers will not get even close to where they need to be without Harden at his best.
The Sixers looked stagnant on offense -- to put in nicely -- for a significant portion of this game. What saved them from digging too big of a hole to get out of? Maxey’s incredible shot-making. Maxey was by far the Sixers’ most consistent player tonight, and in my opinion, their most valuable one as well.
Harris was terrific tonight as well, grabbing a dozen rebounds to go with 20 very efficient points. In the second half, the Sixers put him in the dunker’s spot, not an area of the floor he is particularly familiar with. But it helped limit wasted advantages that might have happened if PJ Tucker had the ball in that spot. An interesting wrinkle worth keeping an eye on.
Tucker didn’t do much in the second half, but his first half performance helped keep the Sixers in the game. His offensive rebounds generated great looks, he dished out three assists and he helped the Sixers contain Mikal Bridges.
Well, in two playoff games, BBall Paul has generated two massive ovations and chants by sold out crowds in South Philadelphia. How can it get better than that?
Reed continued to make a genuine impact on the game with his energy, sparking the Sixers on both ends of the floor and giving them a jolt of juice that they so desperately needed.
Melton’s length stood out defensively tonight -- he blocked a pair of shots and was able to check Bridges despite being a much shorter player. He also knocked down two of five three-point tries.
McDaniels struggled mightily with foul trouble in his first handful of games as a Sixer. After returning from his injury, though, he was able to stay disciplined and, in turn, stay on the floor.
Tonight he had a lot of trouble defending without fouling, particularly in the first half, and it cost him some minutes. His defense while in games has largely been very good -- it’s just about ensuring he is available to maximize his ability on that end of the floor.
Doc Rivers continues to show with his words and actions that he believes in McDaniels, though -- he let McDaniels close the game over PJ Tucker as he manned the front end of a zone defense.
Niang didn’t knock down a three tonight -- in fact, he didn’t get up a single shot -- but I was actually pretty impressed by his isolation defense. The Nets targeted him, as all playoff teams will do the rest of the way, and he held his own guarding on an island.