The Sixers had themselves a very impressive win last night. The Cavs aren’t the juggernaut they’ve been in years past, but LeBron James reigns supreme in the NBA regardless. Ben Simmons and the Sixers made a statement in Cleveland.
The Sixers played an overall-good game. What really stood out was the team’s consistency throughout. The Sixers outscored the Cavs in 3 out of 4 quarters, with the 2nd quarter being a tie, 27-27. The Cavs did make a push in the 4th quarter, however, after bringing the game within 1 point with 2:25 to go.
Eventually, the Sixers were able to pull away and secure the win using some really solid scoring tactics at the end.
If you recall, and how can you not, Jordan Clarkson got a bit upset in the closing seconds when the Sixers had all but ended the game. Dario Saric was given a clear path to the rim, and the Cavs on the floor assumed - I guess - the Homie would just dribble the game out.
You thought that guy would just dribble it out? Dario had other plans, dunking the ball on the wide open rim. This outraged Jordan Clarkson. Except I think, and the internet confirmed, that anger coming from Clarkson was fabricated.
The jackasses that accuse shooting victims of being crisis actors need to take a long, hard look at Jordan Clarkson. Because... well, his defense, it’s.. uh.. it’s a crisis. And there’s no way you can actually be that upset about a meaningless dunk when you play defense as poorly as, and with as little effort as, Jordan Clarkson did in last night’s 4th quarter.
The Sixers must have taken notice of this, because in the final 5 minutes, they attacked Clarkson with a very, very similar play 3 different times. In fact, it was essentially the same exact play, just with multiple options. Poor guy never saw it coming. Never saw it coming, three times.
In the following three plays, the offense will begin with Ben Simmons handling at the top of the perimeter. As Simmons motions right, Joel Embiid will set an off-ball (in one case, Embiid actually had the ball) screen for JJ Redick, who will be cutting left for a look at 3. At the center of it all, will be Jordan Clarkson.
In this first sequence, as Simmons goes passed a Redick screen, Clarkson calls for the switch off Redick, and on to Simmons, exactly as Ben wanted him to (I’m speculating here). Simmons crosses over to his left, slicing up Clarkson as his arms flail at the ball. Easy dunk for Simmons. (The creativity here, by Saric moving weak side, distracts LeBron and keeps him from protecting the rim. Good stuff Brett.)
Just 30 seconds later, the Sixers run this next play. Same idea: Ben motions right as Redick begins to cut left toward the perimeter. This time though, Ben passes off to Joel and heads baseline. Clarkson either falls asleep, or there is a miscommunication with Rodney Hood about a switch, or Clarkson thought to double Simmons, but Redick gets wide open coming off an Embiid screen for an easy 3PT shot.
2 minutes later: “Eh, what the hell? Let’s try this again.” Ben dribbles right, Redick cuts left as Embiid sets an off-ball screen. Clarkson again has a miscommunication with Hood on the switch. Simmons drives to the rim, causing LeBron James to slide from his man, Dario Saric. Simmons hits Saric in the corner for 3. This time, Redick’s action is simply a decoy.
Bravo, Jordan. Bra-vo.