Game 1 in the books and it played out predictably like the script of a low budget horror movie. Most of the game (unfortunately) played out exactly as many fans expected, but there were a few twists sprinkled in. Let’s recap the obvious and not so obvious takeaways from The Bubble.
Joel Embiid Is a Nightmare Match Up For Boston – Joel is just trying to go full December Carson and carry these bums to glory whether they like it or not. He was aggressive early with 11 first quarter points. He got to the line 12 times. He played an uncharacteristic 38 minutes. Daniel Theiss is an underrated player but wow does he look like a helpless cub separated from the pack sometimes trying to guard Embiid. DraftKings should set a personal fouls player prop because Theiss is a lock for at least 5 while tasked with guarding Joel. It’s a shame the Sixers shit for brains front office constructed this roster the way it did. Not having shooters around Embiid gives the Celtics free reign to double in the post at any time. It’s the only thing saving the C’s from a points in the paint extravaganza for Embiid.
Speaking of Nightmare Match Ups, Let’s Talk About Jayson Tatum…– Do you think the people who want to rid Philly of Ben Simmons watched that game and started to put 2 and 2 together. Without Simmons combination of wingspan and foot quickness, as well as strength, the Sixers have no one who can consistently combat Tatum’s array of moves. He is going for 30 every single game and we should just mentally accept it at this point.
THE NOT SO OBVIOUS
Tobias Harris The Ghost – There is just no way a game of that magnitude without Ben Simmons should end with Tobias Harris having 15 points. Simmons is out. Jimmy Butler is long gone. Harris was given $180 million and it cost the Sixers the rights to Landry Shamet in the process. Should I keep going or are there enough clear reasons as to why there is no excuse for a performance like that. He was 6-15 from the floor and only took three free throw attempts. He missed an open three down the stretch and a nice one—on-one matchup where he didn’t convert. When the going got tough for Boston, their wings got going. When the going got tough for Philadelphia, Harris disappeared like a ghost in the corridors of Hill House.
The Sixers Rotation Tightened In a Hurry- The first half saw a bevy of players check in for the Sixers. The 2nd half, not so much. Brett Brown used 7 players for the most part and only two bench guys made any impact. Burks will play starter level minutes and Matisse will play a ton because he will be thrust into every tough defensive scenario possible. Embiid is playing close to 40+ minutes. Horford won’t close out games. Given the circumstances, it’s not the worst 7 to go with. The Celtics surprisingly are 29th in bench production, so the Sixers actually may have an advantage here? We will take any one we will get.
Greatest Al Horford Moment Ever – Big Al backing Gordon Hayward down (his health VERY up in the air) and then muscling in a put back was much needed. But the elongated roar in the direction of Jayson Tatum was so hilariously awesome. It was such an Al Horford moment because it lacked any intimidation but simultaneously got everyone, fans and teammates, so fired up. Also, the flagrant foul called on Horford was bull shit. It was one of the key turning points in the game. We can’t reward the softness and flailing.