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The Best Show Ever?: Weekdays 2pm – 6pm

The Best Show Ever?: Weekdays 2pm – 6pm

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 09: Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives towards the basket against Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics during the second half of game five of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at TD Garden on May 09, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The 76ers defeat the Celtics 115-103.

Well, that was a lot of fun. After making Sixers fans sweat through the first 4 games of the series against the Celtics, they finally gave us an easy one. The Sixers sailed to a 12-point win in game 5. And if it wasn’t for the Celtics’ reserves hitting a few 3s in garbage time, the lead would have been even greater. Everything went the Sixers’ way. Joel Embiid looked great. Tyrese Maxey snapped out of his cold streak. Tobias Harris had a nice game. James Harden played a solid down-the-middle game. And they even got something from Danuel House off the bench. But even better, is that they didn’t do anything that will be tough to repeat in game 6.

It didn’t take some crazy scoring performance from any one member of the team. Or a truly awful night from one of the Celtics stars. Everything that led to this win was sustainable.

The Sixers need just one more win. Either tomorrow night at home, or if not there, then they will have another chance on Sunday back in Boston. They are in the driver’s seat of the series now with a 3-2 lead. One more good game like this, and they will be advancing to likely play the Miami Heat, assuming the Knicks down come back from down 3-1 in that series.

So can they do it? Based on last night, it is easy to be confident. Here are all the reasons the Sixers could easily repeat their performance from last night, to win either game 6 or 7.

  • They Didn't Need a 40 Point Game By Harden

    In the past two wins, it took a time machine to bring back the Houston Rockets version of James Harden for the Sixers to pull it out. 45 points in game 1, then 42 in game 4. Both times he hit a game-winning 3. While that is great, it is not a sustainable recipe for success. They lost the other two games because Harden struggled badly from the floor.

    But in game 5, it was not hero Harden. He was good and hit some big buckets, but moreso he just played a solid all-around game. Made shots when he had to. Drew some fouls. And ran the offense efficiently.  That is something you can easily see him sustaining. He won’t score 40 every night. If they only won when he scored that much, they would not go much further. But seeing that they can win when he scores 17, that is a very good sign.

  • Embiid Didnt Need to Be Anything More than His Average Night

    Likewise, they didn’t need a monster scoring night from Embiid. He scored 33. Which we know he can do every night. He averaged just around 33 points per game in the regular season and scored 30 plus points now in games 3, 4. and 5. The Sixers needed a 50-point night from Embiid the one time they beat the Celtics in the regular season. But while he played great, it was a great night he can easily repeat in every future game.

  • Didn't need Bad Nights from Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum

    If they had won, but one of either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown played really poorly, it would be hard to bank on that happening again. Luckily, they both played pretty well. Tatum put up a game-high 36 points. Brown scored 24 and shot over 50%. They lost anyway. Are the two of them going to combine for more than 60 points in games 6 or 7? Probably not. 60 combined points is about where they have been all series long, and all season long.

  • Was Not a Crazy Good Team Shooting Night

    We have seen nights before where a team blows a team out because of some crazy shooting night where everyone on the team was nailing every shot. That was the Celtics in games 1 and 2. it’s a lot of fun to watch, but you cant shoot over 50% as a team from 3, and 60% total every game. That’s not sustainable. But in game 5, the Sixers shot 50.6% as a team from the field, and 40% from deep.

    In the regular season, they shot 48.7% from the field, and 38.7% from deep. Nothing they did last night was way out of line for what they do on an average night. They weren’t shooting the lights out, they were just playing as well as they do every other night. They also scored 115, while averaging 115.2 pts per game in the regular season.

    They shot well in game 5, but only because they are a good shooting team.

  • Won Despite Shooting Less Free Throws

    The knock on the Sixers all season long, mostly from people who don’t watch basketball, has been the Sixers are nothing without Free Throws. They did shoot 27 last night which was just 2 more than they shot on the average night. And it would be easy for someone to say the Sixers won because they were getting calls. But here is the thing. The Celtics shot even more Free Throws.

    They got to shoot 34 to the Sixers’ 27. 34 by the way is way more than the Celtics usually get. On average they shoot 19 FTs a night. The difference was the Sixers, as they always do, hit their FTS. The Celtics hit just 73.5% from the line. Below their season average of 81.6. But that difference is more than made up by them shooting 15 more FTs than they usually do.

    The Sixers didn’t need the FT advantage to win. The Celtics scored 2 more points off of FTs than the Sixers did. If you took that all away, and no team shot any FTs, the Sixers would have won by more.

  • Turned it Over More Than Usual

    The next thing I looked to see why the Sixers had such a huge win is if the turnover numbers were down. But in fact, they turned it over more than usual. 13, after averaging 10 a game in the rest of the playoffs. Keeping the turnovers at 13 or under should not be too tough for them. And on the other end, The Celtics’ turnovers were down a little bit.

  • No Explosion off the Bench

    It was yet another game where they did not get a ton off of the bench. Just 16 total points. Sure 10 of those came from a surprising source in Danuel House. But no one else did much. Can they get 16 combined points from DeAnthony Melton, Georges Niang, House, and Paul Reed again? Probably. That’s not some impossible feat. Even if its not House. They each just need to score 4 points a piece, and they can match the bench scoring.

  • 49 Combined Points from the Other 3 starters

    Maxey went off and had quite the game. He may not reach 30 again. But could Maxey, Harris, and Tucker combine for 49 again? Maybe. They won by 12, so you could even knock that down to 39 combined, and they would still have won. The point is, they could get similar total production from those 3 again. Maybe not quite so much from Maxey. But if Harris doesn’t get in foul trouble, he stays on the court, and maybe he reaches 20 points. Not to mention Harden could have scored more than 17 if he tried to push it.

  • They are Coming Home

    Lastly, they did all of this on the road. Now they are coming home. They place where they have lost just 6 games since the calendar turned to 2023. There will be a crazy Philly crowd behind them as they try to win game 6. If they can do all of this in Boston, they can certainly do it in Philly. Not to say it is a lock. Just that there is nothing they did in game 5, that they cant repeat in game 6.

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