Are you ready?
(I’m sorry. I’m leaning very heavily into Joel Embiid shouting out D-Generation X as inspiration for his pelvic thrust celebration. I’m leaning even harder after one of the stable’s founders, Shawn Michaels, tweeted this):
…and if you’re not down with that!!!! https://t.co/GptODkdNnF— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) May 28, 2021
The Philadelphia 76ers take their 2-0 series lead against the Washington Wizards to the Capital One Arena tonight. So far, it’s been clear sailing, as the Sixers won Game 1 in a tight contest and blew the doors open in Game 2, winning by 25.
Tobias Harris has been sensational so far, averaging 28.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two home games. It’s a welcome sight to see given what has happened in past playoff performances. Liberty Ballers’ Tom West wrote a piece earlier this week on how he is abusing his matchups so far.
When he’s going, it’s a sigh of relief, as he’s the team’s second-best SCORER. (I still think Ben Simmons is the second-best overall player, but from a pure scorer’s point of view, Tobi is #2.)
After scoring just six points in Game 1 (even though he had 15 assists and 15 rebounds – one of only five other men to do so in the playoffs), Ben Simmons played more aggressively in Game 2, finishing with 22 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists. Simmons took more advantage of some size mismatches in game two, while also just bullying his way through Dāvis Bertāns:
Ben Simmons with the handle and strong slam on NBA TV! #NBAPlayoffs @WashWizards 20@sixers 27 pic.twitter.com/jJxPAL7jec— NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2021
That’s not to say that Joel Embiid hasn’t been doing his part. Embiid had 30 in Game 1, but just 22 in Game 2 – which is more due to the fact that the Sixers were up by so much to start the fourth quarter that Embiid and all of the other starters got an extended rest.
What we all figured coming into this series has already started. Wizards guard Bradley Beal has been potent as a scorer. Beal has scored 33 in each contest, but there are two major issues. For starters, Beal has had to work for EVERY point he’s gotten. There haven’t been too many easy buckets for him.
Secondly, he’s just not getting any help from anyone else. Russell Westbrook was a non-factor in the two games at the Wells Fargo Center. Westbrook is 9-of-27 from the field so far in this series. He’s still filling the stat sheet – just not the part of the sheet that says “points”.
Bertāns – the second best 3-point shooter for the Wizards – has been largely invisible in this series. The forward from Latvia had four triples in Game 1, but he fouled out in Game 2 when the game was well in hand anyway.
It’s been the “Brad Beal Show” since this series started, and it’s hard to see anything changing given the way the Sixers have been playing defense in this series so far.
Washington will get the hometown bump for the next two games, but they’re only 19-17 at home. Granted, the Sixers aren’t the strongest road team, but does it even really matter in this series when the Wizards just don’t seem to have enough talent or depth?
We’ll see for Game 3.
Trust the Process!
BREAK IT DOWN!
Who: Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
Watch: ESPN, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic