Sixers: 3 takeaways from series-tying Game 4 win over Heat

James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Sixers-Heat Game 4 takeaways: Take the bench night-by-night

Georges Niang was pretty good in Game 4. He scored 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting and played 21 important minutes. Think back to Game 1 or Game 2, and you will remember Niang being virtually unplayable due to his complete dearth of athleticism on defense. Some of that is Embiid’s presence in the middle, which mitigates a ton of issues, but part of it is natural variance, which is even more pronounced with the Sixers’ middling collection of bench players.

This is what we have to expect from the Sixers’ bench now: the unexpected. Doc Rivers just has to take it night-by-night and ride the hot hand. Sometimes, Niang will hit shots and elevate the offense. Sometimes, he will miss everything and you’ll need to yank him for the second half. The same can be said for Shake Milton: sometimes he has it, and sometimes you need to fall back on Furkan Korkmaz. Matisse Thybulle? He’s either changing the game with his defense and completely derailing the offense.

It’s strange to consider Paul Reed the most “reliable” Sixers reserve, but he is. You know what you’re getting every night — hustle, some mobility in space, and 10 minutes of genuinely disruptive play. Beyond that, the Sixers’ bench is the equivalent of dart-throwing in the black of night. You have no idea what’s going to happen.

In general, I think the Sixers need to shade away from Thybulle in this series — he’s just so bad offensively, even on nights like Game 4 when he’s ostensibly “hitting shots.” He provides important resistance on Tyler Herro, but the Sixers are winning these games with a better offense than Miami. Not a better defense.