Sixers-Heat Game 1 takeaways: Tobias Harris has been postseason MVP
The Sixers obviously need Joel Embiid. He is the Sixers’ MVP, if not the NBA MVP. That said, have the Sixers had a more consistent contributor this postseason than Tobias Harris? He has been killing it on both sides of the ball for Philadelphia. He’s taking on the toughest defensive assignments and winning. He’s also playing extremely efficient, decisive basketball on the offensive end. It’s kind of miraculous.
After his stellar performance in the Toronto series, the Miami series posed a fresh set of concerns. The through line of Harris’ tenure in Philadelphia has been that less is more with him. By necessity, with Embiid out, he was going to enter this series with a “bigger” role. He silenced doubts in Game 1. He was probably the Sixers’ best player next to Harden, providing excellent defense on Jimmy Butler and Miami’s gaggle of perimeter scorers while leading the Sixers in scoring with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting.
It was not a perfect game, but compared to the rest of his teammates, Harris’ performance was positively unimpeachable. He has made all the right sacrifices to improve his game and give Philadelphia the best chance to win games. He is dribbling with a purpose, taking more 3s, and really buying into his role as a key defender. Tobias Harris is playing the best basketball of his career, and while the Embiid injury may derail a deep Sixers run, Harris deserves his flowers.
The Sixers will need Harris to keep it up in Game 2. The supporting cast did not carry its weight on Monday — Georges Niang was virtually unplayable, Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle were running cardio, and Furkan Korkmaz probably won’t cut it from here on out. The Sixers are basically a four-headed monster with one of its heads cut off. Harris and the other two heads need to elevate in his absence.