Things to Watch: Sixers-Celtics Game Three
The Sixers get the chance to leave their blowout loss from Wednesday behind them as they get ready for game three on Friday. They have dug themselves a hole going down 2-0 in the series, but a win in game can start to sway the tides. Here are some things to watch ahead of the action.
Defending the pick-and-roll is something that has hurt the Sixers greatly in this series. Brett Brown has been loyal to his drop coverage with Joel Embiid and the Celtics' stars continue to take advantage of it. If the Sixers want to win this game, Brett Brown needs to change his defensive scheme.
Although there can be issues with bringing Embiid up on defense, something needs to change. Allowing Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum to walk into wide-open shots is not going to get the Sixers back into this series. How or if Brown decides to adjust his defense will be a major storyline in this game.
Leaders stepping up
It is no secret that Tobias Harris and Al Horford have been far from impactful in this series. Through two games Harris is averaging just 14 points a game, and Horford has scored 10 total points against his former team. If Philly wants to take control of this series they need more from their veteran leaders.
These two players were the team's largest investments this past offseason, and their impact in the playoffs has not reflected that. Now is the time for Harris and Horford to step up and show they are worth the contracts they signed last summer. Joel Embiid needs help carrying the load in this series, and these two need to step up and aid him.
Utilizing Alec Burks
One player who came alive for the Sixers since the restart is Alec Burks. His ability to create his own offense and score off the dribble has been a big boost for the Sixers. Although he has played well, his time on the floor has not always reflected it.
In game two Brett Brown opted to go to Raul Neto off the bench before he went to Burks. This cannot happen if the Sixers want to claw back in this series. Burks has been a key scorer for the Sixers and needs to be on the floor.
With the Celtics losing Gordon Hayward for the remainder of this series their bench is very thin. Letting Burks exploit their weakened second unit gives the Sixers an edge when the stars are off the floor. Moving forward, Alec Burks cannot be buried behind Raul Neto in a playoff series.