5 Takeaways From The Sixers Game Five Win Over the Wizards
1.) With Embiid Sidelined, the Sixers Close Out the Wizards.
Coming into last night’s game, many question marks surrounded the Sixers after the game four loss in D.C. A couple hours before tip-off a Woj bomb broke the news of a “small lateral meniscus tear” in Joel Embiid’s right knee. He was labeled day-to-day, and would sit for game five in Philadelphia. With the news came many Sixers fans fearing the end for the team, using the ugly loss to the Wizards on Monday as proof to their madness. Luckily, Philly put all of those doubts to rest with a 17-point win at the Wells Fargo Center to send the Sixers through to the second round. Doc and the team proved the Sixers can still win without Joel against inferior competition. It was dicey at points, but a couple of Sixers stepped up big-time at home to clinch the series.
2.) Ben Simmons Silences the Doubters with a Triple-Double and Improved Foul-Line Shooting.
With Joel out, no Sixers player needed to step up more than Ben Simmons in Game 5. After shooting terribly from the charity stripe and limited time on the court due to foul trouble in Monday’s loss, Simmons once again needed to show why he’s an elite asset to the Sixers. Simmons did that by recording 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists for his third career playoff triple-double.
What makes that stat-line even sweeter is his performance from the line. While hitting five of eight free throws isn’t anything special, this is another case where you have to look past the box score. For the second game in a row Scott Brooks decided to employ the “Hack-A-Ben” technique that saw success late in game four. This time Ben was ready, and went on to hit three of the four shots from the stripe given to him for free by the Wizards. After he sunk both free throws on the second intentional foul, Brooks decided not to continue the strategy. Overall it was a joy to see Simmons once again ball out in a big-time game for the Sixers, something all fans should expect from him as Philly moves on in the playoffs.
3.) Seth Curry Stepped Up When the Sixers Needed Him.
One of the more quiet Sixers players of this series had been Seth Curry, until Game 5. With Embiid out, somebody needed to step up and take over offensively for the MVP Candidate that averaged just under 30 points per game in the regular season. Many looked to the Sixers bonafide third star Tobias Harris to rebound from his terrible game four performance and take up some of the scoring. While Tobias did finish with 28 for Philly, he wasn’t efficient or even the leading scorer for the Sixers in the game.
Seth Curry finished with a playoff career-high 30 points in the win, while knocking down 58 percent of his shots. What was most impressive about Curry’s performance was how he got his buckets. Sixers fans are very accustomed to Curry as one of two elite spot up shooters for the team, and while he did hit three triples, it was Curry’s aggressiveness off the dribble that truly shined. Seth routinely took his defender off the dribble, hitting mid-range jumpers and even challenging the bigs inside for layups. This confidence to drive drew fouls, where Curry went a perfect 7-for-7 from the line. One big quality of a championship-caliber team is the ability for multiple players to take-over the offense, and to see someone other than Tobias or Joel drop a 30-bomb is a great sign for the Sixers going forward.
4.) Tyrese Maxey is a Superstar in the Making.
Many Sixers fans took notice to Tyrese Maxey’s play off the bench in the regular season, and began calling for his name in the playoffs. Anyone that was hesitant to throw the rook onto the court in the playoffs has officially been silenced after game five. While Maxey’s 13 points off the bench isn’t anything special, this game from the rookie needs a closer look. Tyrese came into the game with the Sixers struggling to get the offense early and losing to the Wizards. With his speed and confidence to get to the cup, Maxey scored nine of his thirteen in the first half. This not only got the fans more into the game, but ignited the struggling offense that would go on to bury the Wizards in the second half.
Everyone knew Maxey’s shiftiness and improved jump shot would give opposing defenses nightmares off the bench, but to see the youngster perform on the playoff stage proves Tyrese can be an asset this post-season.
5.) The Sixers Three-Point Shooting Needs to Improve.
While it wasn’t crucial in the regular season, the Sixers need to shoot better from beyond the arc to be a championship-caliber team. This becomes even more vital if Philly is forced to start the series against the Hawks without their MVP-caliber center. In the series-clinching victory the Sixers went 9-for-27 from downtown. Throughout the entire five-game series Philly shot 38-percent from beyond.
While that doesn’t seem bad, keep in mind that three of the games saw the Sixers shoot below 33-percent. The Sixers have four players in Green, Harris, Curry, and Korkmaz who shot at or above 38 percent from three in the regular season. If the Sixers want to take down the Nets or Bucks, those guys need to stay consistent from deep.
Mandatory Credit: Adrian Wojnarowski, NBCS Philadelphia, Bill Striecher.