I won’t lie.
I’m struggling today. The baby didn’t want to sleep and has had me up since 3:30 a.m.
Sixers/Raptors tonight, game six. I don’t really have any other sidebar stories to write, since Coggin and Russ jumped in this morning and I used the Brett Brown conference call quotes to do the stagnating offense story yesterday.
But we’ve got more words trickling in today, plus some Wednesday leftovers, so I wanted to share a smattering of the more intriguing material that didn’t make it into other stories.
Here’s Kyle Lowry on Toronto’s success against Ben Simmons:
It’s hard. He’s one of the best players in the NBA in transition and open court and we’ve been keeping bodies on him and trying to stay locked in on him we don’t want to have him running up and down the floor and getting dunks and getting tip-ins and creating offense so we’ve been keeping an eye on him and keeping a body on him staying with the opportunity of keeping a body in front of him.
They’ve been doing a very nice job on Ben. In the regular season, the Sixers were the tenth best transitional offensive team in the NBA, scoring 15 fast break points per game. In the Raptors series, they’re only averaging 11.4.
Does Brett Brown throw out the game five film, or does he study it?
After the jump:
I completely delve into the tape. I think it’s a snapshot of things we need to do better first, and secondly things that we may need to fix a little bit, tweak up a little bit. I think when you go into Game 6, the table is set for the most part on both sides of the ball. We feel comfortable defensively, offensively that the path is clean, we like the path. We just have to do what we do better, there will be some incremental changes. But to discount completely (game five), I do not do that. Will it be a witch hunt? No, it won’t. We will hold our guys together and obviously hold people accountable. There are things everybody can do, me, the players, whatever. To dismiss what happened last night, I am not doing that.
Agree. Brett has been asked this before, I think I actually asked him about the film from the Portland road game this year, and he said he looks at tape from every game, even that forgettable performance. Defensive transition and half-court offense really killed the Sixers in game five.
More Brett, on trapping Kawhi Leonard or living with him beating you via outrageous individual performances:
It’s always kind of the holy grail when you deal with elite scorers. I’ve used the example before, I’ll use it again – my 12 years with Pop and the Spurs you would go into series with a game plan against Dirk or Kevin Durant, or Kobe is the one that most comes to my mind because I do think there’s some similarities with how Kawhi is so gifted at creating his own shot. The notion of do you let somebody or do you just sort of concede what sword are you going to die on, if somebody gets 45, 50, pick a number, 40, are you going to be okay? Can you win like that? Or, at some point do you have to shake some stuff up and show some different looks? At times it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
The punishment with the Raptors, as I’ve said and I know everyone knows, is the three-point shot behind Kawhi with a bunch of different tremendous three-point NBA shooters, the best in the league. So to sort of declare our hand that we’re happy to have Kawhi get 40 and guard everybody else vs. from time to time, there’s going to have to be some double teams and crowds and that type of thing shown to have some semblance of a disruptive environment where it’s not a steady diet of anything, that interests me probably the most.
They will mix and match, but like I said earlier this week, if Kawhi shoots 70% on mid-range junk, so be it.
I’d actually like to share a graphic I did a few days ago, since I think it’s a good graphic. Prior to the game five rout, this is what Kawhi was doing offensively:
You can live with 84 points on 73 mid-range shots. That’s only 1.15 points per shot attempt. Push him off the three-point line, let him shoot 14-footers all game long, and if he beats you doing that, so be it. It’s when Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry start hitting that you’re in trouble, because the onus is no longer on Leonard to do it himeself.
And finall, Nick Nurse at shootaround this morning, on why JJ Redick isn’t shooting a lot of shots:
“We’re trying to work hard on him. They’d like to get him more shots. It’s just like with Danny (Green) and Fred (VanVleet), ‘Why don’t they get more chances?’ I don’t know. Some games the ball doesn’t find you. Some teams prepare to make sure the ball doesn’t find you, and some games it doesn’t. We’re going to keep working hard on him. I know they’re going to try to get him off early and often. We’re gonna try to do our best. He’s a really good player.”
Redick shot 1-6 in the game five loss. That was the fewest amount of shots he’s taken this postseason.
I don’t see any noticeable pattern with his playoff performances. He shot 6-9 and scored 19 points in game four, which the Sixers lost. That was his best individual showing of this series. And the Sixers won game two when he only shot 2-8 from three, so go figure.
I do believe that the Sixers settle into a better rhythm when Redick is shooting early, when he’s running off screens, taking hand-offs, and moving defenders. That results in more touches of the ball for teammates as well, and helps cure the ailment of stagnation that really afflicted the Sixers in game five.
Need more of this early: