Sixers Game 2 Takeaways, Game 3 Preview

Philadelphia continued their strong play from Game 1 and went up 2-0 in the series over Toronto on Monday night. Besides a small scare in the fourth quarter in which Toronto went on a 15-2 run, the Sixers looked like a machine. Here are some of my takeaways from the game:

1. I Think Joel Broke the Raptors

After Game 1, Nick Nurse responded to the fouls called by asking his team to be even more physical than they were in Game 1. The level of physicality in Game 1 heavily favored Philadelphia as they were the ones to set the tone. Early in Game 2, the Raptors responded with a quick 11-2 lead in the first. Then Joel Embiid happened. Embiid scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in game two. He flat out dominated all night.

There’s something about the Raptors intentionally breaking the rules to stop Joel Embiid and Joel just not being affected by it. Knowing nothing you do will stop him, that sense of dominance is unheard of and insanely rare. In fact, I think he and Giannis play knowing the other team has no one that can match up to them size wise. After Game 1, it kinda felt like Nick Nurse and the Raptors were throwing tantrums and Embiid disciplined them a bit.

I cannot overstate how special it is to watch Embiid dominate like this after the first three years of his career. His story is probably the best one in sports.

2. The Defense. The Defense. The Defense.

The Sixers coaching staff once again did a remarkable job teaching this defense. The Sixers are out there flying around like a potato in a room. Are y’all watching these rotations??? Embiid is in elite form right now protecting the rim, and he can’t even be attacked on switches around the perimeter either. Fred VanVleet tried to take advantage last night and just… couldn’t!

I mean, you look at the guys who at the All-Star break looked cooked defensively in Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Harden, and Maxey. All of those guys have been exceptional for their standards, the communication between guys is special right now. You see it in the rotations and the transition defense.

3. Maxey. Maxey!!!

Although Tyrese Maxey didn’t have a similar 30 point outburst in Game 2, he was still massively important to a Sixers W. When the game came to an abrupt halt, Maxey was the one to stop the run with a transition 3 and a well placed pass to Danny Green for a dunk(!).

Maxey is BUILT for the moment. He never lets the pressure creep up and break him, he always punches it in the mouth first. That kind of mentality is one that is infectious, and you see it spread to guys like Tobias and Danny.

4. Paul Reed is exactly what we’ve been asking for

B-Ball Paul is full of energy and hustle. As a backup 5 that plays about 10-12 minutes a game, this is a great role for him. In his time, he was +8 with 2 rebounds.

Obviously the box score doesn’t tell the whole story, he played pretty solid defense as well. He isn’t completely flawless, but we aren’t asking for that. After DeAndre Jordan’s rough Sixers stint, we just need positive minutes when Embiid isn’t in the game. And that is exactly what Bball Paul is giving. I love him with my whole heart.

5. The Sixers need to break all sense of hope in Game 3

Do not let up like you did in Game 2. Break their spirit. Analysts, fans, and players all felt like Toronto could compete with Philadelphia just based off sheer hate for Harden and Embiid. A lot of people were just basing their takes off vibes and not basketball. And that’s fine, but you were wrong.

Now it’s time to make all of them not just wrong, but HORRIBLY wrong. I want to quote so many tweets after Game 4. Vindicate me, please!

Game 3 Preview

There is no doubt that the Toronto atmosphere will be different than at safe confines of the Wells Fargo Center, but it shouldn’t be enough to swing a game. Toronto is not only hobbled with Scottie Barnes being out and Gary Trent Jr coming off an illness, but they’re about to be broken mentally.

Winning Game 3 really ends all hopes and dreams of a comeback in this series. They don’t have the offensive firepower nor the mental fortitude to come back from 3-0. End the series in Toronto. Be even more physical but stay composed. Can’t react to their temper tantrums.

Game 3 will be in Toronto on Wednesday, so I’ll see you soon after hopefully! Stay Icy and Go Sixers!

Cover Image Credit: NBAE via Getty Images

Author: Isaiah Williams

New writer !

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