27.4 USG%: Jimmy Butler’s usage rate of 27.4% in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals was Jimmy’s highest mark since Game 1 of the first round against the Brooklyn Nets (when it hit 33.0%). There was a very clear hitching of the wagon to Butler as the Sixers offense stagnated with Joel Embiid, JJ Redick and Tobias Harris all struggling to contribute points. While Butler didn’t exactly light it up from the floor, he was able to get to the line a few times and shot 40% from deep, bolstering his effectiveness. Butler also tacked on 5 assists, running the point at crucial times in the game. Butler’s willingness to shoulder the load and his efficiency running the offense won the Sixers Game 2. Quite simply, Jimmy was the hero Philly needed.
-1.09 points per FGA: Pascal Siakam had an out of body experience in Game 1, with a hyper-efficient 1.93 points per FGA — it was a remarkable performance, but it almost certainly meant regression was due. In Game 2, Siakam indeed regressed as he scored just 0.84 points per FGA (21 points on 25 attempts from the floor) — a massive difference of -1.09. The credit for the significant drop-off goes to two people: Joel Embiid and Brett Brown. Coach Brown made the adjustment of assigning Jo to Siakam and moving Tobias Harris onto Marc Gasol, and Jo of course did a wonderful job of subduing Siakam. Embiid guarded his fellow countryman for 41 possessions in Game 2, and Siakam scored just 15 points going 6-for-17 (36%) on those possessions (shout out to @legsanity for the possession numbers).
13 Points: The Raptors got a measly 13 points from contributors not named Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam or Kyle Lowry. As I touched on just above, Pascal Siakam had a pretty inefficient game and while Kyle Lowry had some big plays, his night was lackluster. Excluding Leonard, Lowry and Siakam, the rest of the Raptors’ roster took just 25 shots, making up only 27.5% of the team’s overall attempts. At this point, the Sixers may need to just accept tremendous Kawhi games and focus on stopping everybody else. Many Raptors players appeared passive and lacking in continuity. Despite a close ending, Philly was able to live with Kawhi’s 35-point game.
92.3%: As a team, the Sixers hit 92.3% of their free throws (24-for-26) in Game 2 — outstanding! Six different Sixers got to the line and all but one (James Ennis III) hit every single one of their free throws. The disparity in attempts between the two teams was significant as well, with Toronto totaling only 15 attempts from the charity stripe. The Sixers have struggled from beyond the arc at times in these playoffs, so the continued ability to draw fouls has been somewhat of a remedy for the loss in high-value shots. And in a game that was decided by just 5 points, hitting gimmes at the line is even more crucial.