2 major things Sixers must change after ugly Game 1 loss to Heat without Joel Embiid

The Philadelphia 76ers were embarrassed by the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. The Sixers must make two major changes after that ugly game to have a chance in this series against the defending NBA champs.

The “Sixers rumors” is a website that has been reporting the Philadelphia 76ers must make 2 major changes after their ugly Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat without Joel Embiid. The first change they must make is to start Ben Simmons at point guard, and the second change is to trade for Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls. Read more in detail here: sixers rumors.

 

The Philadelphia 76ers were given a devastating blow when Joel Embiid fractured his face late in Game 6 of their series with the Toronto Raptors. He missed Game 1 of the second round against the Miami Heat due to injury, and he will be out for at least another game, if not longer.

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Unsurprisingly, Philly didn’t have a chance in Game 1 at South Beach on Monday. After falling down 14 points early, the Sixers fought well to lead at halftime, but the second half was a massacre as the Heat tightened up and stormed away with a 106-92 triumph.

Without Embiid, Philly is in a bad place, but there are two main things that need to alter in order for them to have a better shot going forward.

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Against the Heat, the Sixers will need to make some adjustments.

1. As a scorer, James Harden has to be more aggressive.

Despite Harden’s problems earlier this season with the Brooklyn Nets due to hamstring injuries, Daryl Morey and the Sixers held out on the Ben Simmons trade for so long because they really wanted Harden or a player of his level in the deal. The expectation was that the move to Philadelphia would invigorate the 32-year-old and reawaken his scoring prowess.

Unfortunately, although Harden is still a superb player who can dominate a game with his playmaking, he has yet to regain his scoring form. After being traded to Philadelphia, he scored 21.0 points per game in the regular season, shooting just under 40% overall and 32.6 percent on 3-pointers. He only took 13.6 shots per game and lacked the scoring explosiveness for which he was renowned in Houston.

With Embiid out to begin the series, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Harden to show off his scoring prowess. Instead, he scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting and 2-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. So far in the playoffs, he’s averaging less than 19 points per game:

James Harden isn’t shooting as much as Doc suggested in March. With Joel Embiid out, he tried 13 shots tonight.

Since arriving in Philly, he hasn’t had more than 20 FGA.

This playoffs, he has averaged 18.6 points per game for the first time since 2011-12.

Moreover, the 76ers are already 6-9 this season sans Embiid.

May 3, 2022 — Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH)

Some credit must go to Miami’s defense, as is customary. We watched what they did in the first round to a young talent in Trae Young, and they were all over Harden in Game 1. Take a look at the following facts from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:

According to ESPN Stats & Information data, 12 of Harden’s 13 field goal attempts were contested. He also was double-teamed nine times.

According to Second Spectrum, Harden’s average closest defender was 3.7 feet away on his shot attempts, the third-lowest amount of space in a game this season and the smallest amount in a playoff game in two years.

Even yet, with Embiid out, Harden should at least attempt to be a little more aggressive in his search for points. In Game 1, the Sixers only scored 92 points, which will not enough.

2. Call a halt to the DeAndre Jordan experiment.

In Doc Rivers’ postgame news conference, this was a big bone of concern. Despite Jordan’s absolute ineffectiveness (-22 un 17 minutes) as the starter in lieu of Embiid, Rivers resolutely said that he would continue to do so, even claiming that his teammates are behind him and want it to remain that way.

Never mind that Jordan hasn’t been a viable choice in years and is still bouncing through competitors who eventually bench him. Last season, he played less minutes with the Brooklyn Nets. Despite the necessity for a big man due to Anthony Davis’ injury, he was released by the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Given Jordan’s troubles, it’s unclear why Morey chose him in the first place, but the presumption is that it was a favor to Rivers because of their previous cooperation with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Jordan’s concern is that he can’t move about much any more. He’s still a big guy who can grab a few rebounds and put down an alley-oop now and then, but he doesn’t provide much more and is often singled out on defense. In Game 1, the stats were simply dreadful:

In DeAndre Jordan’s 17 minutes on the court, the Heat scored 50 points, and in his 31 minutes off the court, the Heat scored 56 points.

During his tenures, the Sixers are severely hampered by his lack of dynamism on both ends.

— May 3, 2022, Jackson Frank (@jackfrank jjf)

The Sixers were outscored by 71.5 points per 100 possessions with DeAndre Jordan on the court today.

On 33 offensive possessions, I scored 29 points (0.88 per).

On 32 possessions, they gave up 51 points (1.59 per). https://t.co/cVvDpfyNat

May 3, 2022 — John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann)

With DeAndre Jordan on the court, the Sixers had an OReb of 18.2% tonight. With him off the floor, they had a 27.8% OReb.

With him on the court, the Heat had a 61.4 effective field goal percentage and a 40.4 effective field goal percentage while he wasn’t.

May 3, 2022 — Bryan Toporek (@btoporek)

Everything is nasty and predictable. The Sixers fell down early in this game, owing in large part to Jordan’s ineffectiveness, but Rivers seemed to be adamant, insisting that his other players want this. Something isn’t quite right here.

The alternative possibilities aren’t terrific, to be sure. Paul Reed adds a high level of chaos to the court, yet he is prone to foul trouble. Paul Millsap has the same washed-out appearance as Jordan and is tiny. Charles Bassey is a newcomer to the game. Despite Niang’s shooting difficulties (he was a +6 despite shooting 0-of-7), Rivers had some success playing small with Georges Niang at center, and it’s an option that might be explored more.

When it comes down to it, Jordan hasn’t been good in years, and he’s been particularly poor in Philadelphia. There’s a lot of proof why he shouldn’t play. With Embiid out, the issue becomes more complicated, but Rivers will stick to what he knows for the time being, hoping that the outcomes would improve. If he’s going to keep doing this, he’ll need the fastest possible triggers to put a stop to it if things go out of hand.

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