Observations From Sixers’ Series-Tying Win In Game Two
The Sixers took the court Tuesday night looking to bounce back from their game one performance. Behind another incredible showing from Joel Embiid and the play of an unlikely hero, they were able to take back control of this series.
In the end, the Sixers walked away with a 118-102 victory. Evening up the series as these teams head to Atlanta for games three and four. Here are three observations from the dominant win.
Doc Rivers makes necessary adjustments
After the way game one unfolded, it was clear the Sixers needed to make adjustments for game two. From the opening tip, the changes within the Sixers' game plan were apparent.
The biggest one involved the defense. Ben Simmons said after game one that he wanted to guard Trae Young more as the series progressed and got his wish. Rivers opened game two with the DPOY finalist matched up on Young.
One major change came within the rotations. It looks like Rivers has seen enough with the all-bench lineup. Game two saw much better staggering between the starters and always having a key player on the floor throughout the game.
The chess match between coaches is a key storyline when the postseason rolls around. Rivers did a good job Tuesday night correcting the team's weak points from game one to put them in a position to win.
Shake Milton saves the second unit
The struggles of the Sixers' second unit reared its ugly head again in game two. After almost three full quarters of play, a bench player had yet to record a single point. Doc Rivers decided to dig deep into the bench to try and find an answer.
Shake Milton had a series to forget against the Wizards in round one. His continued struggles shooting the ball found him on the outside looking in on the rotation. Rivers never lost faith in Milton and knew he was going to be a valuable piece down the line.
Fast forward to Tuesday night, and that moment came. Milton checked in for the final minutes of the third quarter and came alive. His scoring explosion came to the sound of 14 points on impressive 5-8 shooting.
Milton knew a situation like this would come, and he made sure he was ready for it. This run not only helped the Sixers pull away for good but gave Embiid some extra minutes on the bench in the process.
Game two was a much-needed bounce-back performance from Milton. Hopefully, he can build off this stellar performance and continue to look like the player we know he is.
Joel Embiid is a man determined
There aren't enough words to describe how special a season Joel Embiid has had. He continues to show why he is one of the most dominant players in the league.
Before the game tipped off, the NBA announced its winner for MVP. Sadly, Embiid finished second behind Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Whether his performance was in light of this decision or not, Embiid made his opinion felt on the matter.
Embiid had a tough act to follow after what he did in game one but somehow managed to top it. Atalanta had no answer for the MVP runner-up as he erupted for 40 points in the win.
If the small tear in Embiid's meniscus is giving him trouble, he has sure had a funny way of showing it. Through two games against the Hawks, it has not appeared to slow him down much.
After game one, Embiid said that he plans on doing whatever it takes to lead the Sixers to a championship, and his performance in game two was a testament to that. He refuses to let his knee injury, or anything for that matter, get in the way of achieving his goals.