One Man Cannot Be Blamed for Sixers’ Disappointing Loss
Game Four at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly was set to be the Philadelphia 76ers second home game until they had to head back up North this week. For their first home game of the series against the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia left the Raptors shocked at just how crazy the environment was. Their shock led to struggles, and their struggles led to failed execution, which resulted in a loss that came in blowout fashion.
At that point, it felt like this series took a significant swing in the underdog's direction. The dog masks came out in Philly for a much anticipated Game Four at home, but the Raptors came out and put the Sixers in a corner when it mattered most, and they won 101-96. Now, the series is tied up at 2-2, while the Sixers are set to visit Toronto once again.
Naturally, the overreactions and finger pointing occurred after the matchup where fans wanted to place the blame on specific players. It started with Joel Embiid, who was clearly not his best self on Sunday. Despite having a few highlighted blocks on defense, Embiid was far from dominant on the offensive side of the ball, unlike the other night. The Sixers' big man turned in an 11-point effort after taking only seven shots from the field. Not to mention, he missed three out of four foul shots in crunch time.
Why was Embiid struggling so much in comparison to his last effort in Game Three? Apparently, he's come down with a sickness once again. As he woke up with flu symptoms on Sunday morning, there was a chance that Embiid could've potentially missed the Game Four matchup, but he decided his team might've needed him more. Unfortunately, he was there on the court but not actually there.
As for the other usual suspect, Ben Simmons - he was once again being his passive self. Simmons finished the game as a minus-16 and had only ten points in 38 minutes of playing time. For a guy who has been aggressive defensively as of late, it seemed as though some early foul trouble kept Simmons in check and playing with fear.
Then there was Tobias Harris who couldn't seem to get it going from long range. When a player has a hot hand from deep, it's not shocking to see them take close to 15 shots from three-point land. However, that wasn't the case for Harris. He went 2-for-13 from three and was clearly not his best self on Sunday as well as he turned in a 16 point effort.
As for the Sixers' bench, they weren't much of a difference maker. Greg Monroe and James Ennis combined for eleven points each, as Mike Scott struggled to get a single point on the board. It's clear that Scott's injury is keeping him limited, causing him not to be much of a factor. At this point, anybody not named Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick can collect blame for the Game Four loss.
Although the Sixers stayed around for the most part when it came to the scoreboard, it was clear that we weren't witnessing their finest effort. And for that, they will have to travel up North with the series tied, rather than having the Raptors on their last leg trailing 1-3. The hope for the Sixers is that their big man gets better before Tuesday - but at the same time, it would be nice if the Sixers' supporting cast can get something going in case Embiid is not his best self. After all, talent trumps chemistry, right?
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