No. I can’t tell you how Enes Kanter and Brad Wanamaker jump started a malignant Celtics offense. The two maligned backups miraculously stepped up early when the Celtics failed to put their best foot forward in game two’s evisceration of Philadelphia (128-101).
Embiid started off and remained hot, showing the needed aggression he lacked in game one. Upping his attempts from 15 to 21. His 34 points and and 10 rebounds weren’t enough though. As the Sixers supporting cast found themselves unable to past muster. Tobias Harris was 4-15 scoring 13. Mattise Thybulle scored only two. While offense isn’t Thybulle’s calling card the Sixers cannot survive in this series expecting him to start games.
Not to be forgotten, but Al Horford continues to simply not fit in Philadelphia and the existential rot of having just been in Philly continues. His pitiful four points is enough to make even a fan of the winner feel sorrowful. Thankfully Horford secured enough capital to ensure the safety and security for himself and loved ones for how many more days we have left on this miserable husk of a planet.
I hate to say it because it sounds so simple and the observation could be made by anyone, but the Sixers offense moves like a bunch of guys who have never played together before.
(It’s not often you see a pick-and-roll and a post-up set in the same possession)
They tend to move on their own accord, sort of hapless. The team is broken and in need of dire repairs. Perhaps Brett Brown isn’t to blame. This is hardly a roster that can maximize what ever scheme he wishes to utilize. Horford is on the team solely so the Sixers wouldn’t have to worry about him guarding Embiid. Meanwhile Josh Richardson, a talented two way guard, is pigeonholed as the teams point guard to make up for the fact they do not have one.
No matter who is coaching the Sixers simply do not have the personnel to limit Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. Kemba Walker is quoted showing his astonishment for the space Philadelphia is giving him to work with. To put it bluntly, I think the Sixers want to go home now. I don’t say this to be malicious. I say this trying to detach myself from my Celtics fandom.
I believe the Sixers want to go home. Their body language reminds me of the Celtics last season when it became evident there was no switch to flip and their over bloated roster rotted to a carcass.
Yes, Philadelphia did not have Ben Simmons. It is likely if they did they’d win. Certainly with Gordon Hayward sidelined for a month with a Grade III ankle sprain putting him on ice for a month. Perhaps if Simmons was playing the role as the creator Embiid wouldn’t be slowed down by Kanter when guarded in the post. With no reliable personnel to orchestrate pick-and-rolls, Kanter finds himself in his comfort zone guarding Embiid in post-up isolations.
But that doesn’t change the fact the team needs to reshuffle its deck. Sadly, this isn’t two years ago where they have picks from previous shrewd trades, budding stars, and role-players on team-friendly contacts to entice other teams to the bargaining table. Horford is an albatross and so is Harris.
As for Boston, as their opponent plunges into the dark depths of uncertainty, their path to the final dance becomes clear. Should they arrive there, it is thanks in large part to Brad Stevens triangulating around his weakness at the center position, squeezing production out of Enes Kanter of all people, and molding Daniel Theis into a poor man’s Horford.
But let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. There are still two games to be won against Philly. And Hayward will not be back until game 5 of the Toronto series should it last that long.
They are firing on all cylinders. Once Stevens gave up on Semi Ojeleye and played rookies Grant Williams and Romeo Langford the contest shifted into Boston’s favor. Williams set tremendous screens, and Langford was more active than Ojeleye on defense.
Is this series over? Last I checked a team must win four games to advance to the next round. But Philly certainly didn’t look willing to lace up their shoes and come back to the same bubble, same atmosphere (only different stickers) for a do-or-die game 3.