Sixers: 3 lessons from lousy Game 1 vs. Hawks

Matisse Thybulle, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Matisse Thybulle, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Sixers lessons learned from Game 1 vs. Hawks: Trae Young has to work harder

In addition to his shoddy rotational choices, Doc Rivers didn’t do nearly enough to make Trae Young work hard — on either end. Offensively, Young spent most of the first half torturing Danny Green in single coverage. Not ideal! On defense, Young was able to hide in the corner and avoid exerting energy against bigger, more physical scorers. Primarily because he was guarding — you guessed it — Danny Green.

Now, look. You will not find a bigger supporter of Danny Green than this writer. He was incredible in the Wizards series and can still help the Sixers win games in this series. What he cannot do, however, is draw the main Trae Young assignment every night. He especially can’t if Rivers won’t commit to hard doubles, traps, and more aggressive attempts to take Young out of rhythm.

The Sixers did adjust in the second half, and with a fair amount of success. Ben Simmons picked up a couple quick fouls in the third quarter, which proved problematic, but he and Matisse Thybulle did what could be done to slow Young down. When Simmons and Thybulle weren’t on him, Young faced a steady stream of doubles and traps. There’s only so much you can do — both because Young is a fantastic player, and because the Hawks have a litany of shooters around him — but the Sixers cannot let him get wherever he wants for an entire half of basketball. That, as much as anything, let Atlanta gallop out to an insurmountable lead.

This series is not over. You should not panic after one game, even with Embiid’s injury-related uncertainty. The Sixers are more than capable of winning this series. They even won the second half. Take deep breaths, get a good night’s sleep, and gear up for Tuesday’s battle.

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