It was an exciting win for the Sixers, as they start out the series against Washington 1-0. It took some effort, no doubt. Here are some insights from the game.
1. Tobias Harris shakes off the playoff woes.
Tobias Harris came out firing ladies and gentlemen. He ended the first half with 28 points on 12-19 shooting, and continued that same scoring for the rest of the game. He consistently kept the Sixers afloat when other guys couldn’t. He finished with a playoff career high 37 points. I think Tobias’ best description is just “shotmaker”. He thrives in the contested-midrange area and has incredible touch around the rim. In the 2021 season, Harris has made about 55% of his shots when the closest defender was considered to be in tight coverage. That’s special folks, and that’s what Tobias Harris makes a living off of.
2. The Sixers transition defense is still an issue
Despite the win, the Sixers did struggle on the defensive end. The Wizards played to their strengths by having Westbrook push the pace in early offense. Westbrook made an impact on this game and Danny Green could NOT stay with him. In the second quarter, Philadelphia’s bench had a ton of trouble staying with Washington. Shooters were wide open multiple times and the communication between the team was not sufficient.
3. Joel Embiid is still good
I mean, we all knew this right? Now, he was in foul trouble in the first half and only played about 10 minutes. Yet, even in those 10 minutes he drew a couple of fouls from Alex Len and Daniel Gafford. What I really want to focus on is the 4th quarter. Over the years, people have questioned Joel’s ability to be a closer. Well, today he singlehandedly put away the Wizards. Bucket after bucket, swish after swish. He’s just so fun to watch and I know the fans appreciate how much he loved to have them back.
4. Ben Simmons’ up and down game
Ben Simmons had himself an okay game I guess? He was unsatisfactory scoring wise and 0-6 from the free throw line. He shot a three though! No but in all seriousness, he was solid in the role he’s been given. He produced a career high in terms of assists that generated over 25 points and caused some turnovers defensively. Multiple times he did a great job denying Bradley Beal the basketball and also guarded him well. Beal still had 30+ because he’s an incredible player, but it doesn’t feel like he had much of an impact on today’s game. That’s thanks to Ben and Matisse Thybulle no doubt. Back to Ben though, he has to be better offensively if the Sixers have any hopes of a Finals run. He’s too good of a player for games like this.
5. Shake Milton should be replaced by Maxey.
Shake Milton is not good enough right now to warrant playing time over an exciting rookie in Tyrese Maxey. Milton is inconsistent defensively and constantly makes head scratching passes on the offensive end. Not only is Maxey a better defender but he’s also a spark plug player. He got in and immediately converted an and-1. He didn’t get much playing time today, but hopefully that changes in the future.
All in all, it was an okay game for Philadelphia. There are a lot of things to improve upon, but you got the win. The Sixers are up 1-0 and that’s all that matters in the playoffs. See you Wednesday!