While Rockets and Sixers were tied (108-108) with 45 seconds to play within the prescribed time, Joel Embiid went to put a screen at James Harden, at the head of the racket. The bearded man dug into the racket, fixing Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun perfectly. Rather than serving his pivot, wide open at 3-point after the pick-and-pop, the point guard preferred to take the shot.
A missed shot while Joel Embiid kept his hands ready to receive a ball that he will not see on this possession. Isolated, this action seems in any case quite emblematic of the duo’s difficulties in finding each other. ” I think it’s gonna take some time », don’t hide Doc Rivers.
For the losing return of James Harden, on his old floor of Houston, the coach wanted to leave him in play enough time to allow him to regain rhythm. The back thus played 38 minutes, including eight in extra time. But the left-hander had a generally galley evening (21 points at 4/19 on shots), where Joel Embiid, released for six fouls, was much more effective (39 points at 12/21).
We will remember that the former Rockets player played the whole of the last quarter, ending with a nasty 2/9 on shots. His pivot, he shot twice less on this sequence. This nasty defeat in Texas, marked by a lack of physical impact deplored by PJ Tucker, will impose adjustments to work on in training.
Exploit all options in attack
Which was the case this week because the 76ers had three days without playing between this trip and the reception of the Lakers the next night.
” Today was really our first real training. But yes, the fact that they are on the field together is a good thing. We did a lot of things in training, which we don’t often get to do during the regular season. So it’s positive », Qualifies Doc Rivers without giving further details.
His words sum up his difficulties in reuniting the two men, regularly and successively injured in recent weeks. Their assessment, when they evolve together this season? Two wins for seven losses. Against a much better record of ten wins and five losses when one or the other is absent, or both.
” It’s important to get everyone here and have a few days of training. We have to find ways to exploit all the options in our offensive arsenal, playing in rhythm but also using our defense to fuel our play in transition and counter-attacks “, Claims Tobias Harris, transformed into a modest fourth option when Tyrese Maxey is not in the infirmary either.
Not always easy with two players who like to play in isolation so much. Behind Luka Doncic, these are the two players who rely the most on the one-on-one of the league…
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