Sixers Have Wild Card to Try to Limit Beal, Westbrook in Playoffs
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers acknowledged it earlier this week, the Sixers will have their hands full with Wizards stars' Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.
On one hand, you’ve got Russ pushing the ball up the floor, putting a ton of pressure [on us]. Trying to be the most physical guard in the series," said Rivers. "And then you have Bradley – he’s just a flamethrower. So, you have to deal with both. It’s not one or the other. It’s both.”
"One’s an MVP and one’s one of the best scorers the league has seen, in Beal," said Sixers guard Ben Simmons. "It’s going to be a tough matchup and a tough challenge for me and the other guys guarding those guys. But we’re here for a reason and we’re looking forward to the matchup. A lot of respect to that team. They’re coming prepared.”
Beal is averaging 31.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game on 34.9% shooting from three-point range, finishing second in the NBA in scoring this season, behind Steph Curry. Meanwhile Westbrook, put up a triple-double every night, scoring 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game.
The Sixers will use a number of defenders on the duo, with Simmons, Danny Green, Matisee Thybulle, George Hill and Tobias Harris getting most of the reps.
The wild card could be Thybulle.
In his second year, Thybulle has solidified himself as one of the best defenders in the NBA, having a real shot at making an All-Defense team if he played more minutes, which could happen in the playoffs.
“I feel like if [Matisse] had the same amount of minutes as me, he would be Defensive Player of the Year, easily,” Simmons said earlier this month.
With the Wizards offensive firepower, could the Sixers give more minutes?
Its definitely something to watch as this series materializes, as Thybulle could end up being a wild card throughout these playoffs. With potential matchups with Beal, Westbrook, Trea Young, Julius Randle, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Kris Middletown and of course the Nets three-headed monster of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, Thybulle could see his minutes extended and be the wild card in these playoffs.
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