Sixers-Heat Game 2 takeaways: Philly doesn’t have enough
The Sixers have four consistently good NBA players. That is generally not a winning formula, no matter how good the four players are. When you remove one of those four players from the equation — and make it the possible league MVP who boasts one of the highest usage rates in the NBA — Philadelphia just doesn’t have enough to compete. Not in this series, against this Heat team.
Daryl Morey deserves some blame for not properly fleshing out the second unit and investing in multiple mediocre backup centers. Doc Rivers deserves some blame for flat-out refusing to invest in the development of Isaiah Joe and Charles Bassey. And then there’s the cruel twist of fate rendered by Pascal Siakam’s stray elbow. It’s bad luck. Unfortunate, circumstantial sadness. The Sixers probably could have made this competitive with Embiid at full force, but we’ll never know.
Even if Embiid returns, he will be battling a torn ligament in his shooting hand and a broken face. Last time Embiid wore the mask, he was frequently frustrated. It impacts his peripheral vision, which is only compounded by his thumb injury, which also impacts ball security. The Sixers cannot expect Embiid at 100 percent, even if he miraculously clears concussion protocol in time for Friday night’s game. If he isn’t cleared, then Philadelphia will probably go down 0-3 and Embiid’s season should be over.
Without Embiid, the Sixers are without the sun around which their offense orbits. Harden is still excellent and the Sixers got good performances from both Maxey and Tobias Harris on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough. The Heat simply had more, with the Sixers’ entire supporting cast continuing to look ill-suited to the postseason stage.
We will see what changes Daryl Morey can muster in the offseason. What does Harden’s contract look like? What is Harris’ future with the team? What about Matisse Thybulle, who’s due for an extension soon, but who hasn’t necessarily earned a significant investment? The Sixers have a lot to figure out moving forward, but as far as this series goes, the writing is on the wall.