The Sixers won game 2 with a Broad Street Bullies-esque defensive performance, despite still not having an overwhelming offensive showing.
Jimmy (James) led the way on offense snapping for 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. While defensively, it was all about Brett Brown’s adjustments. He gave Simmons the primary assignment on guarding Kawhi, which noticeably frustrated the temporary-Raptor. Equally as important was moving Embiid to Siakam which led to 9-of-25 shooting from the inexperienced forward.
Coach Brown also shortened the bench big time, riding Butler and Simmons for a combined 87 minutes. It appeared the Sixers were much more eager to move out on shooters, forcing people into the paint to for a meeting with Embiid.
So while game 2 was all about Butler, Brown, and the defense, I think game 3 will come down to our shooters, limiting Siakam, and Ben Simmons taking over a little more.
Simmons was great on defense, not giving anything easy up to Kawhi, and being very active everywhere. He doesn’t seem to be overly worried about his lack of aggression on the offensive end, but there seemed to be a few opportunities for him to attack the rim game 2. Behind the confidence of the home crowd maybe this is finally the game for the takeover.
The difference between when the Sixers shooters are within the city limits and when they aren’t is ridiculous. At home the Sixers are the 3rd ranked 3-point shooting team in the league. When they are anywhere else on God’s green earth, they are the 27th ranked club. An absolutely stupid difference, but that should mean that we will be heating up tonight! Look for a monster JJ game.
With the same defensive matchups, a healthy Greg Monroe, the possibility of Mike Scott, and our shooters feeling comfortable I think the Sixers might blow Toronto out in game 3 to take a stranglehold in the series.
Ps: The least talked about aspect of this series so far has been how much Nick Nurse appears to STINK at coaching. He came from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, which is in fact NOT a prestigious basketball program. But do not let that worry you Raptor fans, because before that he got five years of immeasurable experience learning from the best while with the Brighton Bears(?). Brett Brown is coaching laps around this clown, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.