Doc Rivers Doesn’t Regret Going to Embiid Late in Game 4
Halfway through game 4 against the Hawks, the Sixers looked well on their way to taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Even after being down as much as 18 at one point, the Hawks refused to roll over.
They managed to not only claw back into the game but took the lead in the closing minute. After sacrificing a big lead, the Sixers still found themselves with a chance to come away with a victory.
With 16 seconds to go in the game, Doc Rivers puts the ball in Tobias Harris' hands. He initiates a pick-and-roll with Joel Embiid, then feeds the All-Star center as he rolls to the rim. Embiid gets a good look at the rim but doesn't get the shot to fall. The Hawks then regain possession and knock down a pair of free throws to complete the comeback.
As the focal point of the Sixers' offense, it is not shocking that the ball ended up in Embiid's hands with the game on the line. This decision seemed questionable in game 4 due to Embiid's apparent struggles. He finished the game shooting 4-20 from the field, including 0-12 in the second half. It was clear the MVP runner-up did not have it on Monday night.
Rivers did not regret drawing something up for Embiid in the closing seconds. He feels no matter how the game is going you want the ball in the top guy's hands in the big moments.
Even on those nights, you still go to your guys. I've coached a lot of games where guys haven't had it all night, but they're your guys, and they get it. The shot we got with Joel, I think we would take that shot all night.
Embiid gave his thoughts on the final play later in the night. He agreed that he got a great look at the rim, but he did not have the lift in his legs to get it to go. The MVP runner-up followed that up by saying he typically would have gone for a dunk but had to settle for a layup.
Following the team's film session on Tuesday, this development was mentioned to Rivers. He said there was no talk between him and Embiid about how he felt physically, and he still liked the look Embiid got at the rim.
Listen, I'll take the shot. The layup wasn't a bad shot either. You can do a layup too. We just didn't make the shot, and that was it.
It was clear Embiid did not have the touch in game 4. Even though he is the team's best player and did get a good look, the call might have been better going elsewhere. Tobias Harris has shown this season he is capable of stepping up and hitting big shots when needed.
Embiid has said himself he does not think he will be 100% until the offseason. While he has played tremendously through injury, a game like game 4 could potentially happen again down the line. If we do see it again, it will be interesting to see how Rivers reacts after the result on Monday.