Sixers

Embarrassing Loss Puts 76ers in 0-2 Hole

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Well, that was awful.

The 76ers put up a disheartening performance in a 27-point Game 2 loss against Boston and now find themselves down 0-2 in their first round series. Here are ten takeaways from an abysmal display.

1) 76ers 1st Quarter

Not the entire game was a disgrace. Like Game 1, the 76ers found themselves in a good position following the the first quarter. The Sixers were zipping the ball around and into the post. Joel Embiid feasted with 15 points and three assists. That is what the 76ers’ offense needs to look like if they have a prayer of winning this series. They built a 14-point lead during the quarter and found themselves winning 33-27 after the first. That is one of the few positive on the night.

2) Drop Pick-and-Roll Coverage

The Sixers surrendered their lead with about nine minutes left in the second quarter, and the Celtics never looked back. Boston gained steam by attacking the Philly’s pick-and-roll coverage. All year, Brett Brown has instructed Joel Embiid and Al Horford to sit back in the paint, while the wing defender goes over the screen. This is designed to force opponents to take long mid-range shots. However, the Celtics had their bigs set a high pick for Jayson Tatum or Kemba Walker, allowing them to hit semi-contested threes or an uncontested mid-range two. Both players are fantastic pull-up shooters and made the Sixers pay.

3) Brett Brown

This was a great game for the fire Brett Brown crowd. He did make some tactical adjustments, like starting Matisse Thybulle and mirroring his minutes with Tatum. The lack of in-game adjustments, however, was very clear. The refusal to change defensive coverage after Tatum and Walker were catching fire was indefensible. It is looking less and less likely that the 76ers will put up a competitive fight in the first round, and more and more likely that Brown will be shown his marching orders.

4) Tobias Harris

Not all of the blame should be shouldered by Brett Brown. Some has to go to the overpriced players too. First, Tobias Harris was absolutely terrible. He finished the night with 13 points on 15 shots. He is now 10-for-30 in the series with 28 points. A guy on a five-year, $180 million contract should not be scoring 28 points on 30 shots across two games in a playoff series. The Harris contract became an albatross the second it was signed. The 76ers need more from their highest paid player.

5) Al Horford

Now to Al Horford, who has also sucked in both games too. Horford followed up his six-point, seven-rebound, six-assist Game 1 with two points and two rebounds. Is there even a point in playing him in this series anymore? The best chance this team has at pulling out just one game in this series is to surround Embiid with four shooters, rather than have Embiid play alongside another guy who plays the same position as him. The two-big lineup, which runs counter to the modern NBA, is an abject disaster. It is time to move on from Al Horford.

6) 76ers Front Office

The blame is still not done getting tossed around. The front office must also shoulder the burden as well. The past few years has seen the front office make extremely shortsighted, win-now decisions that have hamstrung the organization. They saw Tobias Harris struggle against the Raptors last year, and gave him a max. They paid a player $109 million who plays the same position as the team’s best player. These are two gigantic, crippling contracts on the books for overpriced players that will be difficult to move on from.

The treasure chests of assets collected during the Process is now barren. The worst sin of all? The front office has surrounded Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, two non-perimeter oriented players, with non-shooters. The entire organization is in need of a tear down, and it would be wise for the 76ers to move in that direction next offseason. Unfortunately, it might go more so like this…

7) Joel Embiid

Now at least a few more positives from this game. First, Joel Embiid was incredible. Despite the blowout, Embiid ended up leading all scorers with 34 points while adding 10 rebounds and three assists. Joel did what the media and fans were clamoring for following the Game 1 loss.

This is the Embiid that needs to show up if the Sixers have any chance of winning this series. The problem was most of his teammates decided not to show up. Embiid was dominant in the post. He even had one play that showed why he is compared to Hakeem Olajuwon.

8) Shake Milton

Shake Milton had himself a decent game as well. While the second-round pick should not be required to set up the offense for this team, he showed how he can be a great rotational piece moving forward. He is an extremely confident shooter who can space around Embiid and shoot in transition created by Simmons. He finished the game with 14 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor.

9) Show Some More Heart

The Sixers just did not seem to care after the third quarter. It’s fine if you get blown out, but please don’t let things like this happen to you in a playoff game.

10) 76ers Concerns Moving Forward

While I’m sure fans are going to attack both Embiid and Simmons for this team’s failings, there isn’t much they can do. The organization has failed them the past two years. Stuff like this can’t happen, and it’s understandable if they are upset.

The worst case scenario is if one or both stars demand a trade due to the poor circumstances. If things continue the way they have been going, that wouldn’t be a surprise at all.

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About Tim Andrews

Big Basketball Fan. Follow me on Twitter @TimAndrews_13. Contributing for @TLSportsMedia / @SixersLead / @TheBLAnalytics Trust the Process.

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