Will The Real 76ers Please Stand Up?
On Friday’s “John Kincade Show” we had a very spirited debate about having confidence in the 76ers chances to beat the Boston Celtics. This was less than 48 hours after their disappointing Game 2 performance in Boston with the return of Joel Embiid leaving us flat. Complete transparency is important. I did not have “confidence” that the 76ers WOULD win the series. I did believe that they COULD win the series. What has transpired over the first 4 games does nothing to give me more confidence in their chances and actually reinforces what I already believe about this franchise.
First of all, Joel Embiid in this weekends home games was fantastic, except for that stretch trying to close out Game 4 when Al Horford seemed to get in his head space. I enjoy watching him do his thing and his ability to draw the double team and dish it while still frequently getting to the foul line is impressive. He’s a true MVP. It’s the supporting cast that leaves me confounded. I’ll get to James Harden in a minute, but I expected this playoff series to be a coming out party for Tyrese Maxey. It most certainly hasn’t lived up to expectations. Tobias Harris has the ability to carry the scoring for small stretches but has not made an impact on this series. PJ Tucker has been the playoff investment that he was advertised to be. His 4th quarter “pep talk” to Joel Embiid in Game 4 has the opportunity to be the stuff of Philadelphia sports legend. Overall, needing 76 points from Harden and Embiid to win a home game isn’t the ideal scenario.
James Harden can’t seem to figure it out in the playoffs. Consistency isn’t his strong suit. According to ESPN Stats and Information the Game 2 and 3 production from Harden was the worst back to back games in his entire career. That followed his Game 1 performance which was one of the best in 76ers history. Then came Sunday afternoon. I never saw that coming. Harden was magnificent and helped to carry the team to victory. He was determined and had the guts of a burglar. This was after passing up numerous easy opportunities to score in the previous games. It’s a crazy scenario. Who is James Harden at this point in his career? He’s a player with the potential to be a game breaker but those performances are few and far between. It’s driven me to this thought. Drive him till the wheels fall off this Spring and then let him sign for the next 3 years elsewhere. I can’t commit further.
That is sort of where I am with the 76ers as they prepare for the next 2 games. I can commit my loyalty and fandom, but not my faith. They haven’t earned it. Every chance that they have to change the narrative they seem to slip. So what to expect in Boston? I’m believing we see a game that is closer to Game 2 than Game 1. I would also believe in that scenario that the 76ers can return the favor in Game 6.
Prepare Mom for an intrusion on her big day this Sunday. I’m all in on Game 7 being a winner take all that will leave the verdict of “The Process” hanging in the balance.
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