Listen, I know that this is the internet and overreacting is what we do, but Toronto won game 1 on their own home court. Congrats, should have dropped some confetti. The Sixers got out-hustled, out-worked, out-everything’d.
Kawhi and Siakam combined for 74 points on 28-for-38 (73.7%) shooting . Butler and Embiid combined for just 26 points and shot 30%. That will not continue. That cannot continue.
Joel Embiid has to bully or outsmart Gasol
Joel scored 16 points, but only scored 5 of those points while old geezer Gasol was on the court. Embiid had 12 post-ups resulting in just 4 points. That’s not CLOSE to good enough, but to think a 34 year old Gasol can sustain that level of defense for an entire series (or even two games in a row) against a physical freak like Joel is just naive. The Raptors did a tremendous job in help defense, consistently collapsing into the paint. This goon Gasol wasn’t biting on any of Joel’s pump moves but that just means he has to reach deeper into his bag of tricks.
Joel is probable tonight with stomach issues, that doesn’t worry me at all, there is 0.00% chance he misses this game. It honestly might be an advantage, who’s going to want to help and rotate over to Joel when he’s just ripping ass out there? Might be a smart strategy implemented by the Sixers here. Something to keep an eye on.
We need playoff Jimmy
Jimmy Butler scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting and a whopping -23. I’m not reading too much into this other than it just being a bad game but Kawhi clearly made it his mission to shut down Jimmy. On the defensive end Butler also has to be better, but can’t be left on an island against Kawhi like he was at times in game 1.
The boys have to start cooking from 3
The most frustrating part of this loss to me was wasting a really good JJ game. Usually you see shooters get hot at home during the playoffs but JJ was feeling himself leading the team with 5 threes. The way Toronto is approaching this series is very obvious, they are trying to shrink the court and take paint away. We have to look for our shooters when they collapse, and we need Jimmy, Tobias, and JJ all to be knocking down shots. That’s where the opportunity lies, even if Gasol is able to maintain a high level of defense on Jojo.
This series will look a whole lot different tomorrow, after the Raptors don’t hit every shot they take, and Embiid has the offensive night that we know he can. Series is tied 1-1 heading back to Philly. Book it.