Joel Embiid scored 33 points on 9-for-18 shooting, to go with 10 rebounds, five blocks and three assists in a 116-95 blowout win to give the Sixers a 2-1 lead in the series.
Our starters clicked perfectly
Finally, we got the huge Embiid game, that we knew had to be on tap. Butler abused the pick and roll while remaining hot, Simmons was draped over Kawhi giving max effort, every time Harris sensed he had a guard against him he posted them up like small children. JJ did JJ things, and hopefully he’s not too banged up.
Philly made its case for being the best that the Eastern Conference has to offer. How does Toronto respond? I wanted to take a peek at a couple things that they will be looking to make happen, if they want any shot in this series.
Toronto desperately needs to adjust their rotation, there were so many times throughout the last two games where the Sixers starters were on the court against some iteration of the Raptors bench. But for Nick Nurse, the time to get creative with those rotations might have already passed.
The news of Siakam being listed as doubtful, due to a right knee contusion will completely handcuff Nurse with his rotation. OG Anunoby is still out from his appendectomy, so what do they do? If they run with Van Fleet and Lowry as the backcourt, they will get bodied the entire game. That’s just far too tiny of a lineup to put out there, and if they have choose to go to Powell they will have to put Kawhi at the four spot. My guess is that Ibaka will start and get a lot of run, but he has looked down right atrocious, even his effort. So, that can’t make Toronto fans feel too giddy.
Kyle Lowry has to figure it the fuck out
Kyle Lowry put up 7 points in a pathetic 2-of-10 shooting performance which has become par for the course for the uninspired “star”. Toronto can not win this series without Lowry going off, and his last couple of performances make it a lock that Kawhi is leaving in the off-season, because he is on an island by himself out there.
Listen, I didn’t want to sit here and rip the kid who grew up in north Philly, grinding on the city courts to make the league. Kyle Lowry was an absolute bulldog while at Cardinal Dougherty, 5 star recruit, widely-noted insane work ethic. He chose to keep his talents in Philly and went to Nova for a couple years before being drafted 24th by Memphis.
I respect that Kyle Lowry, and I wouldn’t dare come at someone forged by Philly fire. With that being said, this man is a BUM. He wasn’t a bum when he was ours, but at some point, after he left, his fire burned out. I don’t want to point any fingers, but when we released him into the world, he just wasn’t this way. Some people would point to 2012, when he was traded to Toronto, as the moment he lost any bit of the last remaining bulldog within him. Did the worst sports city in North America instantly make him soft? The evidence seems to support such claims.
Ps: I don’t expect any rotation change to make the slightest difference in this series, I think Toronto will do Toronto things and get blown out again in game 4. It would be tough to come back from game 3. You can come back from a loss for sure. I would never debate that, but I don’t think you can come back from getting slapped around and having your lunch money taken on national television.