Sports Opinion: Sixers need Joel Embiid to dominate to have a chance to beat Celtics
Sixers get needed win, but coach Brett Brown calls out defense: 'I think it stinks'
Philadelphia got a bounce-back win Monday night, but there are questions about its once-vaunted defense after a pair or subpar performances.They started to figure things out in a bounce-back win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night. But now Philadelphia is facing questions about its once-vaunted defense after a pair of subpar performances.
Joel Embiid carries his heaviest responsibility in these playoffs.
What Ben Simmons' latest injury means for him and the Sixers
After Ben Simmons sustained a non-contact injury against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers confirmed Thursday that the All-Star suffered a subluxation of the left knee cap, putting the rest of his season in jeopardy. A subluxation is a temporary or partial dislocation. A patellar subluxation like Simmons' comes with a lengthy recovery time, which is important to remember as he and the Sixers weigh various treatment options.
With no Ben Simmons (out recovering from last week's knee surgery), the Philadelphia 76ers' success in their first-round series against the Boston Celtics depends on Embiid’s production, and he knows that.
Embiid, 26, needs to be at his best for the Sixers to win this series, and while he was good in Game 1 against Boston, he was not dominant in the Celtics’ 109-101 victory.
The stat line looked good: 26 points, 16 rebounds, two steals, but he also had five turnovers and just 15 of his points came after the first quarter.
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The Blazers are within a half-game of eighth place in the West. If they sneak into the playoffs, could they really upset the top-seeded Lakers?At another arena only minutes away, the Los Angeles Lakers competed with the awareness that they have already secured the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. And so their key players either rested on the bench or played with apathy on the court.
"With the way I started the first quarter, I need to be more assertive," Embiid said, suggesting he needs more touches, especially down the stretch.
If he wants to prove that a mostly traditional big man can still control a perimeter-oriented game, Embiid needs to dominate.
"I've got to do more," Embiid said. "I’ve got one job to do — carry us."
All is not lost after one game. The Sixers trailed 103-100 with 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter. They weren’t blown out and proved they can play with the Celtics.
Before the series began, Sixers coach Brett Brown raved about Embiid’s mentality. When engaged, Embiid, an imposing physical presence with skill at 7-feet and 280 pounds, can influence a game with his rim protection defensively and force in the paint offensively.
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Boston routed Toronto 122-100, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens won't be putting any stock in the result if the teams meet again in the playoffs.With the Raptors and Celtics in line for the second and third seeds in the Eastern Conference, respectively, a meeting in the playoffs is a strong possibility. If that happens, Stevens said you can toss Friday's result out the window.
"That mindset, when you combine that was his gifts he’s a unique player," Brown said during an in-game interview with ESPN.
Embiid can be a problem, and the Celtics are committed to making sure he doesn't dominate, defending him with multiple players.
"We want to get Joel the ball in different floor spots," Brown said. "It doesn’t always have to be bully-ball at the nail (middle of the foul line) where it’s just a fistfight and everything gets stuck in mud. It can be at the nail. It can be pick-and-roll. ... There’s overplaying, the volume of just smash-mouth bully-ball in the post. To do it all the time comes with some level of punishment if you’re not careful. I look forward to going back and seeing our post passing, our passing out of the post, and I think we can improve a lot in that area."
Now, not everything is on Embiid’s plate. He can’t score every point and defend all five opponents on the court. He can’t do it alone in a team game — and we can make points about the level talent around him — and the Sixers’ defense, especially their perimeter players, must find a way to limit Boston’s tremendous and versatile guards and wings.
Sixers' Ben Simmons will undergo surgery on left knee after suffering injury vs. Wizards
Sixers forward Ben Simmons needs surgery after dislocating his kneecap Wednesday against the Wizards, and Philadelphia has no timeline for his return.The Sixers said in a statement that Simmons will leave the NBA campus for the surgery "in the coming days to remove a loose body in his left knee." Philadelphia did not offer any timeline for Simmons' recovery and plans to offer more updates following his procedure.
The Sixers were sloppy with 11 turnovers in the first 18 minutes, and the Celtics scored 21 points off Philadelphia turnovers. Boston also had 16 second-chance points from offensive rebounds.
"You can’t minimize the fact that losing stinks, but I feel like there are answers to the questions of why," Brown said.
Depth may also end up being a major problem for the Sixers. Brown played nine players, but just seven received a majority of the playing time.
Add up all those factors, and perhaps it’s too much to ask for Philadelphia to beat Boston in a best-of-7 with Jayson Tatum (32 points), Jaylen Brown (29 points) and Kemba Walker (19 points) too much to contain.
But if the Sixers are going to do it, Embiid is the reason why.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
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LeBron James is not concerned with the Lakers losing. He is far more frustrated with getting used to playing games without fans in the NBA bubble."I am getting more and more used to being out there. It’s a very weird dynamic. I haven’t played in an empty gym in a very, very long time," James said following the Lakers’ 116-111 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. "It’s been a very long time since no one has been watching me play the game. I’m just trying to find that rhythm and lock in.
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NBA: Celtics win hot fight in game 3 - Sixers before the playoff-off .
The Boston Celtics have also won game 3 of the first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers and are only one victory away from the next round. With the 102: 94 success the Celtics have to tremble against the bravely fighting Sixers until the end. The weak offense of the Sixers is ultimately too little (here are the highlights of the game). © Provided by SPOX The Boston Celtics only need one win against the Sixers to advance to the second round of playoffs.