What the Philadelphia 76ers’ loss last Monday might tell us about the future.
Toronto is a cold, chilly place during the majority of the NBA season. The Philadelphia 76ers know of this all too well. They were reminded of that again in last Monday’s 101-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors, their 14th consecutive regular season loss in Toronto. The loss foreshadowing two definitive scenarios in close, competitive games.
The first scenario being that this game is merely just a learning experience for the Sixers. They gave up a very winnable game. This could be one of the most reassuring things to happen to the Sixers’ season. A game where the Sixers lost by two possessions and basically burst into spontaneous human combustion to hand the Raptors this game. Philly’s offense was stopped eight consecutive times to end that game.
Leading me to a glass-half full line of thinking. Why would I do this in the pressure cooker that is a Philadelphia 76ers fan’s mind? The bench produces a lift, check. 3-point shooting shows up by making 15 of them, check. The two things that are not always certain happened, in a road game.
The only thing that didn’t happen was their franchise center contributing heavily. Oh, I forgot to mention that Joel Embiid was held scoreless for the first time ever, but I’m sure you know that already. And probably the last time ever. It is only a matter of time before both the starters and bench produce complete games consistently. Especially the type of games that really matter in April, May, and June.
The other scenario is that history is repeating itself and it will continue to repeat itself. A devil’s advocate would say that this is not a good sign. This game is just another of the Brett Brown era that he and the Sixers could not pull out. A team that continues to shoot itself in the foot
A mentally weak Joel Embiid shows evident in the loss despite trash talking guys like Karl-Anthony Towns, Hasaan Whiteside, and Andre Drummond. It was Joel Embiid’s first game back in Toronto since his 21-point, 6-from-18 shooting performance in Game 7 of the second round.
Embiid infamously put up zero points and was settling for multiple jump shots. There were only a handful of times that Embiid got position by the rim or even got to the rim. When Joel Embiid is faced with someone as physical as him — Marc Gasol in this case — he’s simply not as effective and it will continue be this way.
The Sixers’ turn the ball over too easily. A characteristic problem the Sixers have identified with and kept for many years. In recent memory the turnover issues have come from Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons and Embiid combined for 11 of the Sixers’ 16 turnovers. Too many for any franchise’s two main stars to have in a game, especially a road game.
Your mindset and confidence has so much to do with how you view this game. Agreeing with the former has you seeing greener pastures and agreeing with the latter has you envisioning the same inevitable demise as the previous two seasons. Either way, this Toronto game in particular gave us a little more information on this who this Sixers team is and could be.