Six players see their flaws against the Raptors, but Game 6’s fixes don’t look certain

Every pre-qualifying concern about the Sixers seemed very in effect Monday night.

And while the prevailing sentiment comes from the bleak post-match press conferences that followed the team meetings 15 game point 5 loss for raptors It was basically, “We need to play like we did to go 3-0 in this series,” calling the Sixers doubt they could flip the switch and suddenly be superior again.

In his first season as head coach of the Sixers, the Doc Rivers suffered a second-round playoff defeat last year against the Hawks despite a 2-1 lead. The Sixers blew an 18-point lead in Game 4. Atlanta won game five on the road after trailing by 24 points by 14 minutes 10 seconds.

If the Sixers lose Game 6 in Toronto Thursday night, they will be the first team in the NBA to build a 3-0 lead in the series and then lose three games in a row since the 2003 Mavericks. No team has fallen into this spot four times in a row.

Obviously, there are factors Rivers should take into account here besides strategic adjustments. Almost nothing from Monday’s game indicated that his players are self-confident.

“I don’t know if I was worried about that,” Rivers said. “I know there’s equipment we have that we haven’t used over the last couple of games. And when you go there, it’s going to be very lively. I think that’s going to be pretty cool for us in a crazy way. I think we’ll be ready for that.”

The Sixers’ rampant indecision was perhaps most evident in Matisse Thybulle, who played 14 minutes and shot 1 for 6 from the ground. “Made” was three pointers lost in the corner that Precious Achiwa somehow put in his own basket.

serial entry, Thybulle is not available for gaming in Toronto because it has not been fully vaccinated It was rather ominous. But through four games, the Sixers were in a good place on paper. They handled the chores at home, splitting games 3 and 4 in shorter rotations, and were happy to add a very talented ocean defender back into the mix for a decisive opportunity.

However, the results of Thybulle’s shooting and her approach were detrimental. Instead of trying to jump again early in the second quarter, as Pascal Siakam would have dared to do so, he threw a pass to Therese Maxi. Intercepted by Scotty Barnes, Thibault immediately stared straight at the ground, and the Raptors grabbed a quick corner kick. They ended up scoring the first 12 points of the period.

“It’s tough for Mattis,” Rivers said. “You two sit down and come on. Listen, I don’t know. It’s a tough situation.”

Thybulle is the elixir best suited for stopping star keepers. The Raptors never used a player who fit this description in Game 5 with All-Star Fred Vanfleet being sidelined by a flexed strain in his left thigh. However, Toronto did not play like a team with a reputation for relying on transitional attack.

“They knew exactly what they wanted,” Rivers said. “They knew who they wanted to have the ball. Then it got to a point where they didn’t care who got the ball. They started going five on the elbows. I felt like everyone, like tonight, had an advantage in getting us out of dribbling. And I know our weaknesses. I I know that. And so we have to figure out a way to try and give more help to these weaknesses.”

Joel Embiid scored 20 points and reduced 11 rebounds, but he also lacked decisiveness in his second game in a row, as he played through a ligament tear in his right thumb.

Embiid described his defensive performance as “terrible” and admitted that his injury contributed to moments of doubt.

“I think where I’m really affected is that I’m in a situation where I’m trying to protect him,” he said. “So before I attack or if I get the ball it’s like I’m not playing free where I’m like, ‘Okay, if I do that, I might get injured or I might get hurt. “So mentally, I have to get rid of that and think for the best. And just be myself and not think of any movement that could put me in a bad position to get hit or get injured more. So I’m going to work on that.”

In games 4 and 5, the Sixers scored just 87.9 points per 100 half-court games, according to cleaning the glasses. The team scored 105.7 points per 100 half-court games during the first three series competitions.

Beneath VanVleet, the Raptors’ turn is loaded with defenders capable of switching and dashing and forcing the Sixers to do more than just target favorable encounters.

“They are very helpful, so when I get in the lane, I have to kick her out and trust her,” Maxi said. ‘Tobias (Harris) once told me as I went into the paint, ‘They crumble so hard that everyone is open to the outside. “

“So, I have to be able to get into the paint and get creative for others. Then put the ball back on the floor (away from) the lock-ups. … It will be tougher than them, at the end of the day — offensively and defensively.”

Rivers said Maxi “doesn’t get the ball in transition enough.” After scoring 61 points on Matches 1 and 2, Maxi earned 12 points for 5 for 14 in Game 5.

James Harden went 4 for 11, including two three-pointers in the last quarter with the Sixers trailing double-digits.

“I’ve been saying all season since he got here, he just needs to be aggressive and he has to be himself,” Embiid said of Harden. “That’s not really my business. It’s probably for the coach to talk to him and tell him to take more shots, especially if they’re going to guard me the way they were guarding. But that’s not really my business. But we all need to be better.”

“Offensively… we missed a bunch of wide open shots and at times, it felt like we were just called in – when I was doubling down, we weren’t aggressive and attacking. We kept moving the ball around the perimeter, and that gave them time to recover. Which is why we couldn’t get anything from it. If this is what they will continue to do, then we have to take advantage of it.”

The Sixers’ problems on Monday were plentiful, yet Rivers had no problems dripping the series.

“The three keys we got in this series were rebounding, flips and guarding the ball — which kept it off the paint,” Rivers said. “Today we bounced well, we didn’t keep the ball out of the paint, we didn’t take care of the ball. If they win two of those three, it will be difficult for us to win.”

For these Sixers, simplicity can sometimes be deceiving.

However, they will have a third attempt to eliminate the raptors. If they take it, the team will be able to see its flaws in a much more enjoyable context than Game 7 looming.