After Sunday’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Sixers continue on a four-game winning streak. It was easily the most impressive win of the season. Not only were they able to beat the best team in the NBA, they did it while Giannis was putting up video game type numbers – finishing with 52 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Not many teams are talented enough to allow a 52-point night and still walk away with a victory. The Sixers proved yesterday that they’re one of them.
Yet the question remains, will this Sixers team make it further than last year’s squad? They seem to be peaking at the right time, but they also peaked at the right time last year – winning their final 16 games of the regular season.
On paper, the team is clearly better now than they were in 2018. Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler are settling in to their roles, and chemistry is starting to build with the rest of the team.
Speaking of Butler, it was nice to see him be the closer down the stretch that he was brought here to be. His short tenure with the Sixers has been marked by calls for him to be more aggressive offensively, and last night is evidence that he’ll shift more towards that mentality as we get closer to playoffs.
Embiid is playing the best basketball of his young career as well. National pundits don’t mention him enough when it comes to the MVP race, but he deserves some recognition. He’s the best big in the league and there’s nobody who can consistently match up with him night in and night out.
I have faith that Embiid will continue his dominance in the playoffs and that the rest of the ‘big four’ will continue to put up solid numbers.
The only two question marks for me heading into the postseason are Simmons and Brett Brown. Last year, both of these guys struggled immensely in the Boston series. Simmons could never get into an offensive rhythm, and Brad Stevens seemed to always be a step (sometimes a few steps) ahead of Brett Brown.
The presence of Jimmy and Tobias should allow Ben to play his game. He won’t be pressured into carrying the offense like he tried to do last year. He just needs to let the game come to him and he’s done a better job of doing that this season as opposed to last.
Brett Brown on the other hand has been the subject of criticism all year. Sunday may have been his best coaching performance of the season, but he’s going to need to bring that every night during the playoffs. With 10 games left before playoff time, Brown still has some time to gain more momentum and sure up his rotation.
On the Sixers best night, they can beat any team in the Eastern Conference. They have the best starting five in the East and the second or third best player in the conference with Joel Embiid.
If the Sixers don’t make it further than they did last season, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.