Matisse Thybulle Feels Sixers ‘Took a Breath’ After Round One Win
Game one between the Sixers and Hawks was a tale of two halves. After a red-hot start shooting the ball from the Hawks, the Sixers found themselves down as much as 26 in the first half.
While the Sixers found themselves down big at the halftime intermission, they did not let it discourage them. Behind a dominant showing from Joel Embiid and increased defensive intensity from the team as a whole, they erased the monstrous deficit.
Even with an incredible effort to flip the tide in the second half, the Sixers could not overcome their first-half mistakes. The comeback fell just short, and Atlanta survived with a four-point victory to strike first in the series.
After the team's film session on Monday, Matisse Thybulle spoke to the media. It was there he gave his thoughts on the team's night and day performance from each half.
It's not that complicated. We proved that we know what to do, how to do it. It's just showing up and doing it from the jump. It's really easy to take a breath after you win a series, but in reality, that's the time to really hunker down and deeper. I think the first half showed that a little.
One team was ready to go at the start of game one on Sunday, and it wasn't the Sixers. Players and coaches cited after the game that Atlanta "punched them in the mouth" to start the game, and they didn't punch back.
The momentary lapse in focus was rare for this Sixers team. Having veterans like Danny Green and Dwight Howard helped keep this team locked in all season, but that intense focus was absent in the first half of game one.
Each team's journey to the second round most certainly played a factor in the opening of game one. The Hawks had to go into a hostile New York environment and win to advance and play the Sixers. They had already experienced the playoff atmosphere in the opening round.
Meanwhile, on the other end, the Sixers made rather quick business of the Wizards in a series that many felt lacked playoff excitement. That lack of intensity in round one gave Atlanta an opening to take the Sixers by surprise on Sunday.
Thybulle said it best on Monday, the team has to come out with that intensity from the start of the game. It was their amplified assertiveness that rattled the Hawks and allowed them to get back to within striking distance in the closing moments.
The Sixers are a team that has had championship aspirations since the start of the season. Game one was a much-needed wake-up call for them. As they prepare to even up the series in game two, expect the Sixers to come out laser-focused and ready to make a statement.