Close Games, I Sadistically Love It

Last night the 4-5 Cavs came into the Wells Fargo. You could kind of feel, from talking to fans and social media, we expected a blow out. But that didn’t happen. And honestly it wont happen more times than it will. The NBA is much more competitive and teams play hard. The Cavs play hard too, and aren’t that bad of a team.

Sixers controlled majority of the first half. Stretching the lead to 6 at half time, despite poor shooting from Tobias Harris and the rest of the team. Joel Embiid and Ben led the way with 14 and 12 respectively. Then after half time things got sloppy. The first half the Sixers managed only 4 turnovers as compared to 10 in the second. The game seemed to be slipping through the Sixers hands, going down as much as 6 at one point. Then with about 3 minutes left someone woke the Sixers up. The Cavs didn’t score for the rest of the period. Tobias, despite having an awful night shooting, got a big offensive rebound and put back, then next time down hit a mid range to put the Sixers with in one.

The final play, Brett drew up a thing of beauty. And the team executed near perfect. Getting the ball to JRich, then to Tobias who had the option of a pull up at about the foul line. Instead he saw Joel with a great seal on his man, little lob pass and Joel dunks it for the lead. But still one stop is needed, and the Sixers relied on their identity of a defensive team and smothered the Cavs. However Kevin Love ends up open at the top of the key, pump fake, and shoots. And misses. In years past that shot always goes in i feel, but not this time. After a brief scrum the horn sounds and the music comes on. The Sixers survived a scare unnecessarily, but none the less survived and got the W.  98-97

 

Some Quick Observation

Tobias Harris

A horrible shooting night, probably the worse of his career. Actually definitely the worse of his career. Come to find out Tobias was battling a Stomach Virus and wasn’t planning on playing till 4 pm that day. Then went out and shoot 0/11 from 3, hearing boo’s rain down after a bunch of misses. The Cavs packed the paint daring the Sixers to shoot, and it work because the Sixers shot 8/38 as a team. Again 0/11 for Harris. Here is my thought on Harris and his struggles, being sick sucks and it really effects your legs. However, in my opinion there may be a little more. Coach Brown said in his pregame press conference that he wanted Tobias to see the rim every time he catches the ball. He called Tobias his new JJ Reddick. To me I think that is asking too much of Tobias. He is not the type of player to become a gunner, and I am curious to see if trying to make that his mentality has an effect on him. I think it is a bad move, but Brett knows more about basketball than me, so until he is proven wrong I guess we will see how it goes.

Defense

It’s good, even without Horford. The Cavs came in averaging 106 points per game. But notably scored 113 and 112 against the Celtics and Bucks. To hold an NBA team under 100 points is a tough task. To stop a team from scoring for 3 whole minutes, give or take, at the end of a tight game is madness. The Sixers clamped down, Joel Embiid played like a man on fire, and they closed out the game on the back of their identity DEFENSE.

Other Observation

  • Cavs packed the paint, daring the Sixers to shoot. Curious to see if other team employ this strategy, and if the Sixers can shoot them out of it.
  • Turnovers. Again although it was only 14, turnovers in the second half were a big part of why the Cavs were able to get back into the game.
  • Ben Simmons – seemed ultra aggressive in the first half and seemingly passive in the second. This is not uncommon for him, but I’d really like to see him to continue to attack throughout a whole game.
  • Furkan – didn’t drop 20 but made same plays hit some threes and again held his own.
  • Matisse – back in the rotation and still a menace on defense. Reuban Frank tweeted some stats last night, and that’s pretty much the story you need to know about Matisse. ruben
  • Joel Embiid – Joel imposed his will on this game.  27 points 16 rebounds 4 assist and 2 blocks. Even brought the ball up at times, one time throwing a nice one had cross court pass to Thybulle for a 3. Joel maybe as he plays more is getting his legs beneath him. Played 36 minutes and was all over the place on defense and had a great dunk to finish the game.
  • Brett Brown – agree or disagree with him. Think he is a good coach or not. His Out of Time Out plays this season have been on point. And he has this team buying into their defense, and closing out games well. So far I am impressed this season.

Now on to Orlando tonight at 7pm to play against Markelle Fultz and the Magic. We were told there would be an update on Joel’s status at 1 pm today, but I get the feeling he is going to sit this one out. I am planning on keeping my eye on Tobias tonight. For whatever reason his numbers are much better without Joel, and after last night I’d like to see him get back to form, hopefully.

 

Rob Manoff

twitter : @manoffrm

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