Things to Watch: Sixers vs Celtics Part Two
After a matchup that would go down to the wire on Wednesday, the Sixers and Celtics will face off again in this 'series' finale. Now that they have faced off once, it will interesting to see what kinds of adjustments are made for the second matchup.
Here are three things to watch as these teams get set to face off for the second time.
Limiting the supporting cast
It has been reported that Celtics' All-Star Jayson Tatum will not be making the trip to play in this game. Boston will still have Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker to lead the charge, but the Sixers need to focus on limiting the supporting cast.
Guys like Brown and Walker are All-Star level talents, we know they are going to go out and get their numbers. This is why if the Sixers want to walk away with another win, they need to focus on shutting down the players around them.
Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis both scored over 20 points in the first matchup on Wednesday. Those scoring outbursts helped keep Boston in the game, and need to be addressed the second time around.
The Sixers defense was sloppy at times early but stepped it up late in the game. Now that they have seen what Boston is going to throw at them, the defense should have an easier time containing them for all four quarters.
Getting to the line
The biggest disparity between these teams on Wednesday was their amount of free-throws. Joel Embiid alone would attempt more shots at the line than the Celtics team as a whole. The Sixers' ability to draw contact and get to the line played a big part in their victory and is something they need to continue in game two.
Part of the reason Embiid and the Sixers got to the line so much was because of their size advantage. Boston does not have the size to counter bigger players like Embiid and Simmons they were forced to play more physical. The two need to continue to show a willingness to get to the line and keep taking advantage of their size.
As a whole, the Sixers would shoot double the amount of free-throws than the Celtics. If the Sixers can get to the line at the volume again and get Boston in foul trouble, it should lead to a second straight victory.
Joel Embiid making adjustments
Joel Embiid was without a doubt the biggest factor in the Sixers' victory on Wednesday. He would erupt for 42 points and 10 rebounds, continuing his early MVP campaign.
Now that Brad Stevens has had the chance to try and defend Embiid, he will likely attempt a different approach in the second matchup. How Embiid adapts to whatever is thrown at him will be something major to focus on.
The most obvious difference will likely be the number of double teams thrown at Embiid. Their lack of size will force them to throw more bodies at the All-Star center if they want to slow him down. If Embiid can continue to be a strong passer when doubled and make passes like the cross-court one he made to Danny Green on Wednesday, he should be just fine.
It's no secret that the Sixers are going to need another strong performance from Embiid if they want to sweep this 'series.' This game will be a good test for Embiid, as it is the first time a top-level team and coach will have the chance to change their plan of attack from game to game. Situations like this are great preparation for the postseason.