No intros needed after that one, let’s get right into the observations.
Al Horford and Tobias Harris Have Two of the Worst Contracts In The League – There were consecutive possessions in the 2nd quarter where Tobias Harris and Al Horford had 1 on 1 matchups in the paint with Romeo fucking Langford and couldn’t score. If that doesn’t sum up this disaster of a season, I don’t know what does. At this point, it’s hard to put into words how bad Al Horford is. He has been such a unsurprising, uninspiring disappointment, that a 2 point playoff performance is somewhat expected. But Tobias Harris, who disappears on the court more often than not, cannot turn into a ghost this time and escape criticism. Without Ben Simmons, and the Celtics wings absolutely balling, you would think the $180 million man would step into the spotlight. Instead, he’s played like the kid from Luck of the Irish when he lost his lucky coin. He has not hit a three in this series. He was a -21 tonight. He has 28 total points in the series. Jayson Tatum had 33 tonight alone. For Harris, it’s as pathetic of a playoff performance I have ever seen, and our quarterback once puked his way down the field in a Super Bowl.
This Team Quit – That 3rd quarter was one of the most pathetic displays of defensive intensity the NBA playoffs have ever seen. There were multiple shots where a Sixers defender didn’t even attempt to close out. They stood around more on defense than offense, which is hard to do considering the offense was to make one entry pass per possession. Jaylen Brown windmilled dunked on a 76ers grave and not a single player had a passionate reaction. If you are going to quit on this team, and this city, let us know ahead of time so we can switch to the Flyers and stop wasting our time with you bums.
Jayson Tatum…Unreal – Said it in the last reaction blog after Game 1, this guy is a lock for 30+ points every single game of this series. Starting Matisse Thybulle to guard Tatum with Gordor Hayward out, while Burks/Horford provided bench production was absolutely the right move. It didn’t work because Horford and Burks gave you nothing. But even more so, nothing is going to work without Simmons.
THE NOT SO OBVIOUS
The Celtics Bench Outplaying the Sixers Bench?! –
The 76ers don’t have a particularly deep bench but it anything beats the bare bones crew the Celtics put together. They were 29th in bench production and then lost a starter AFTER that. For our bench to be outplayed and outscored by the likes Glenn Williams is mind blowing. Brad Wannamaker was a +27 and the Sixers couldn’t get a single freaking point out of Alec Burks (well, he had 2 points, big whoop). Enes Kanter rebounded like Brad Stevens was going to send him back to Turkey if he didn’t come down with the ball. Meanwhile Al Horford collected $109 million to get some light cardio in. Of all the fist clenching, teeth grinding moments tonight, letting their reserves outplay ours and turn the game around was the most surprising to be on the list.
The Pick and Roll, Basketballs’ Most Basic Play – In a complex game at its most competitive level, Brett Brown’s team can’t figure out how to defend the most basic play in the sport. They are getting pick and rolled to death and they have no answer to it, to the point they were still falling victim to the pick and roll in a zone defense. This has been an issue for the Sixers for Brown’s entire tenure but it’s magnified with two elite playmaking ball handlers like Kemba Walker and Tatum. I am not as ready to pick up pitchforks and torches and march to Brett Brown’s hotel room in Orlando because I think this front office is a who’s who of incompetent clowns. But, Brown is going to lose his job after this year and it is in large part to not ever being able to figure out a defensive strategy for…the simple pick and roll.