Tobias Harris Silences Playoff Doubts With Career Performance
Multiple storylines were surrounding the Sixers heading into their playoff opener Sunday. One of those storylines involved Tobias Harris. After an All-Star caliber season, many wondered if he could carry his play into the postseason.
Harris has had some trouble in playoffs throughout his career. Most notably last season against the Celtics. When he shot 38% from the floor and 13% from beyond the arc. Game one against the Wizards offered Harris a chance to erase his performance in the bubble from memory.
Things took a turn for the worst early in game one as Joel Embiid had to sit with three fouls. The MVP finalist played only ten minutes in the first half. With the focal point of the offense stuck on the bench, the Sixers needed production from elsewhere.
Like he did all season, Harris stepped up when the moment called for it. He put the team on his shoulders and softened the blow of Embiid forced to sit due to foul trouble. In the first half alone, Harris almost matched his playoff career-high. Scoring 28 points of 12-19 shooting from the floor.
Harris ended the half with just under half of the team's total points. This offensive eruption kept the Sixers in striking distance until Embiid could return. Once back on the floor, Embiid got back to his dominant ways and carried the Sixers across the finish line.
When all was said and done, Harris had reached a new playoff career-high in points. He finished the game with 37 points to go along with six rebounds and two assists. If there were any doubts on Harris not performing in the postseason, they were wiped away on Sunday.
After the game, teammates and coaches praised Harris for his performance in game one. Ben Simmons was one of the first to applaud him and the work he put into improving as a player.
We all know he should have been [an All-Star]. He's so talented and gifted and continues to get better and better. You see him early on, dominating the game. You just want to keep giving him the ball because he's feeling it. He was terrific tonight.
While it might have gone overlooked at times, Harris made incredible strides as a player from last season to this season. Being reunited with former head coach Doc Rivers has done wonders for his game.
Harris has established himself as a reliable second option for the Sixers. He has shown on multiple occasions that he can come up big for this team when needed. His performance on Sunday showed that the bright lights of the postseason are not going to change that.
This version of Harris has made the Sixers much more dangerous offensively. His ability to attack mismatches has made life miserable for opposing teams. When Washington put a big on him, he got past with his speed, and when a guard switched on, he backed them into the post with his size.
Now that Harris has moved on from his playoff woes in recent years, the focus becomes building on his incredible showing in game one.