How Trust Saved The 76ers’ Season


Philadelphia – The only way to confirm the belief is to win the title in multiple ways.

it is philadelphia 76ers Coach Doc Rivers’ philosophy after playing and coaching in the NBA for nearly 40 years, and he reiterated it about an hour ago Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon.

and what’s here joel embied He had this to say after a one-sided Game 3 loss to the 76ers on Friday night: “I think the players have to show up. … I have to do my job. Everyone knows their role; they have to do their job.”

Embiid certainly didn’t call anyone names then, but it’s worth noting that his teammates james harden He had a combined 5 of 28 attempts in games 2 and 3 in losses to Philadelphia. And Embiid was quite aware of Harden’s performance when he said what he said.

So keep all of that in mind when Embiid fired a pass to Harden with about 20 seconds left in overtime of Game 4, which Harden converted for one of the most clutch shots of his career and made the difference. Sixers win 116-115 Which tied the series 2-2.

There was a lot going on in that moment, as it often does in high-value playoff games.

After hitting a clutch 3-pointer of his own that put the Celtics ahead by two points, Boston jason tatum — No Celtics Center al horfordwho blocked Embiid three times in the second half—defending Embiid on possession as part of a late-game strategy that was to determine the fate of the 76ers’ season.

jaylen brown, who has been shutting down Harden for most of this series, practically stood on Harden’s toes in the corner to deny him the ball as it went to Embiid. Brown made what he said after the game “a gamble at the wrong time”, leaving Harden alone to double-team Embiid as he looked ready to shoot and tie.

Leaving a shooter open for a 3-pointer when you’re up by two isn’t a play, especially when that shooter has 39 points and made 5-of-8 3s during the afternoon. (That total jumped to 42 for Harden after his sixth 3.) And even when the 2022-23 MVP had 34 points and his own matchup advantage in Embiid, it was still wrong. There was an option.

Embiid left his feet ready to shoot his crucial shot but clearly realized Brown had come to rush him and knew what that meant: Harden was alone. Embiid threw a wicked sidearm pass that landed in Harden’s hands, and the future Hall of Famer took care of the rest.

A week earlier, Harden was 1-of-10 in his career on go-ahead 3-pointers in the last 30 seconds of a playoff game. After his heroics in Game 1 and Sunday, he is 2-of-2 in such situations during this series alone.

Embiid said of the Game 4 winner, “I mean, that was an easy game.” “It’s a belief we talked about all season long.”

Embiid and Harden have rarely been better than Game 4 in their one and a half seasons. Their partnership is the cornerstone of the franchise’s success, although it has been a bit shaky at times.

Last week, Harden presented Embiid with a six-digit Rolex watch to celebrate Embiid’s MVP award. Embiid effectively praised Harden for helping him become an effective offensive player, with Harden leading the league in assists (10.7 assists per game) and Embiid leading in scoring (33.1 points per game).

But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

,[Look at] celtics last year [when they made the NBA Finals], With each round, he saw faith grow; It’s just the way it works,” Rivers said. “The regular season is your first hurdle, get through it. And then you get through the playoffs, and you get tested and you find out if everybody is going to trust and execute.

“Tatum and Brown have had their problems at times, and then they have them now. They play great together. But it’s taken them years. And Joel and James, more importantly, what you saw today Saw him talking a lot.”

There was belief, and there was execution, indeed.

The Celtics and 76ers were regular-season powerhouses that were considered title contenders throughout. On Sunday, Rivers said of the series: “We’re in a fight once, and we just have to keep slugging.”

The Celtics have won two games relatively easily, and the Sixers have won two games in the last seconds. There are a lot of cases to be made for where this series is going or what statements are being made or, in the case of Sunday’s great Embiid-Harden, real faith is being built.

Maybe it’s important; Maybe it isn’t. Perhaps take Rivers’ sage advice and see if it adds up.

Harden said, “I just want to win, no matter who or how, I just want to win.” “And frankly, today was do or die for us. We found a way to win, and that’s what matters after the season.”

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