What went wrong with the 76ers in the first half of the disastrous game against the Hawks?


Between Joel Embiid’s addition to the lineup, a wrestling-themed introduction, and the rare first game after Philadelphia’s first round, it laid the foundation for the 76ers’ dominant performance in the second round. The seeds. But after the visiting Atlanta Hawks scored 42 points in the first quarter, the script was flipped, and the 76ers found themselves chasing the game in the next game.

“I thought they hit us in the mouth at the beginning of the game,” Rivers said after the game. “I think they are a more physical team, they are a more aggressive team, they play harder in the early days, and they control the ball early. We don’t. You can’t start the first quarter. There were nine turnovers, and I look forward to it.”

In the end only a four-point loss, due to pressure defense and improved shooting percentage in the final stage, the 76ers roared back. But they themselves will tell you that they shouldn’t be in that position in the beginning, scratching and scratching in order to have a chance to win at their home court.

So let’s start with a simple premise: what went wrong, and how worrying is its prospects?

Treyang’s poor starting plan

Trae Young’s skill set is no secret in this series. He is Atlanta’s best player, their offensive engine, and the author of their first round victory over the New York Knicks. We introduced how he hurt you in the series trailer, and the 76ers have every opportunity to learn from the work Yang has done so far.

On the contrary, the 76ers seem to be committed to making as many wrong decisions as possible. Using Danny Green as Young’s main defender was the first point of contention for most fans, but Rivers first thought of other places-executing the plan.

“In general, we have as many reports as Danny,” Rivers said after the game. “Refuse [of screens] In Danny, the reports of double resistance — which is basically why they hurt us, double resistance — are more of us. “

Atlanta’s use of Young’s drag screen is a point we specifically mentioned before this series. Defending a pick-and-roll guard who can shoot and pass the ball like Young is undoubtedly a huge requirement for any defense, even an excellent defense like Philadelphia. But they sometimes hardly give themselves a chance, and the big man keeps dropping until in the end, Yang is exactly where he wants to be on the court.

Trying to force Yang to shoot mid-range is not a bad goal, because mid-range heavy offense is what you want always I want the opponent to have. However, the 76ers allowed Yang to go all the way to the paint zone, chase the top to keep him away from the three-point line, and then sink towards Clint Capela to prevent the high ball from over the top. Young’s shooting and running were very good, and the 76ers made him shoot frequently in the first half.

This illustrates the challenge of defending Young and the value Capella can provide even if he never touches the ball. Embiid is very worried about the threat of a lob, and he has never even tried to compete with his opponent’s top offensive weapon.

There is at least one valid reason for Yang to continue working: Embiid’s health. If the 76ers say they don’t want Embiid to move too much when testing the knee, that would be an understandable quirk. But Rivers pointed out after the game that he only worried about Embiid when he became crazy in the last few minutes of the game.

“We haven’t changed much, not because of his health,” Rivers said. “Compared to Joel’s health, we have changed more because of Tre Young, I will say so.”

The 76ers did not make a game plan suitable for the No. 1 seed with home court advantage, but gave the venue to Yang to settle him down. This is a large, scarred defensive team that can win by playing the aggressor. In fact, their best defensive moment (in the first half or other times) came when Embiid was authorized to play harder when Yang turned around:

Please note that it will not help to keep Green on Yang. Green’s performance in the first game was so bad that it raised questions about his future role, and Matisse Sebull performed much better against Young in the representative on Sunday afternoon. When the Eagles rolled the ball slowly off the court in the last five minutes, Green was unable to force Young to catch the ball, causing audible moans and a lot of boos on the court.

Most fans just want to see Ben Simmons defend Yang. Players and coaches cheered for his defensive player of the year qualification for most of this year, but Simmons was demoted to a secondary role when the game was important. Rivers’ concerns about foul problems surfaced in the third quarter, when Yang caused two quick fouls on Simmons and frightened the 76ers no longer insisting on that expression. Simmons seems ready to take over from Yang at the beginning of the second game, but both he and his coach believe that the referee will be a factor.

“I thought I committed a few fouls for this, he fouled twice because of defense, it was frustrating to see Trey, and then you have to worry about his foul. I thought Matisse picked it up, I was surprised, and I must Get an explanation why it was not overthrown. I don’t know what else you can have a more solid defense. They still give the kids two free throws, so we have to check because it seems to me that Trae is the first to touch with his hands And push away, but we are the ones who keep fouling the rules. So either we did something wrong, or we have to figure out how to make sure this is also a call to him.”

“I might do that,” Simmons added when asked about the next game. “I mean, I think. So, if the referee doesn’t plan to blow so many fouls, I can be physically strong and I will be 6’10” and then I will be 6’10”, but we will wait and see.”

we should. Even if the 76ers continue to decline, a bigger, more athletic defender bypassing the screen could have a huge impact.

The regular season method of the playoffs

The 76ers have been playing with fire all season, and they went to a full bench to buy time for their starting players. Game-by-game results are everywhere, but good performance is not enough to convince anyone that this team can play against a good team. Doc Rivers may be the only exception.

Since the 76ers had dropped by double digits at the end of the first quarter, Rivers decided to seize the opportunity to let all the substitute players participate. With 40 seconds left in the first quarter, the 76ers’ last starter (Seth Curry) came off the bench, and the Philadelphia team trailed by 11 points. When Tobias Harris returned to the court with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter, the lead had been extended to 20. If the 76ers had completely stagnated during that time, they might have won.

Rivers will avoid returning to the well in the second half, which suggests that he may give up this appearance for the rest of the series. Not so fast, Rivers said after the game, because everyone was terrible in the first half.

“We will see, I mean it didn’t work tonight, but it didn’t work early in the first set,” Rivers said. “Both teams are in the negative department. But we usually like one person, such as Tobias or Ben, to be with that group. We played very deep in the first quarter because we failed, which made us unable to function normally. Rotation.”

Considering how often we see the full bench set this year, this feels like an untenable excuse. Stunned by your star should be your primary consideration when entering the game. When the Hawks ran out of Okonvu-Galinari-Hert-Bogdanovic-Williams lineup, they begged to be exploited on the defensive end. It is a stupid proposal to leave this to a group of second-tier players instead of letting your star try to do it.

The only thing to note here is that the performance of the bench can’t be worse, even worse than critics like me expected. Tyrese Maxey went out of bounds and tried to shoot at the last second to end the first quarter. Dwight Howard missed a close observation of the rim. George Hill was not the stable strength they needed. The team ended the game with the worst of the team-17 and provided at both ends. Very few. If he has a suitable supporting role, he is likely to play an important role in this series, but he did not take any measures to extinguish the fire.

Over-help

The Hawks made 20 three-pointers in the first game of the playoffs, setting a new team record. Someone throws a three-pointer in the game and may think that this number is unsustainable. This is true, but the 76ers have also tried their best to give the Hawks’ role players a chance to play.

Simmons is the culprit here. Accepting Bogdan Bogdanovic’s task, Simmons has more room to deceive his man than he attracts Yang to start the game. But he eventually went too far on one end of the spectrum, drifting into the paint and providing shots for Bogdanovic on the outside. For example, in most of the opening possessions of the game, he did almost everything right, except that when Embiid was in the perfect defensive paint zone, he was far enough from Bogdanovic to allow Atlanta to shoot basically every time. Lost. Simmons was in the area, but didn’t do anything to disturb this scene:

He is far from the only culprit. Philadelphia was slow throughout the first half of the draw, but you would think that someone like Seth Curry would miss the task or make problematic decisions without the ball. Since his rookie season, Simmons has cleaned this up to a large extent, but the first quarter of the game has quite a lot of property like this. When Simmons is at his best, he predicts what will happen next instead of reacting to the opponent’s actions.

Good defense is based on trust. It determines when you need to rotate, where your teammates should be, when you can let others handle tasks, and when you need to step out of the script to transfer momentum. Throughout the season, the 76ers have achieved a good balance between chaos (mainly Saibull) and calmness.But Young was cooking in the first half and they allowed him to draw All Their attention keeps them one step away from exposure.

For all Danny Green’s problems, when the ball is kicked out, he cannot be expected to defend two different shooters at the same time, and no one is even willing to pretend to be interested in helping him.

Philadelphia’s loss in the second half shows that they will tell you their true identity, and the adjustments they must make are relatively simple. But losing Embiid’s performance and performance in the home game is a hard pill to swallow, which in the end felt like a preventable defeat. Enter the second game.


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