The Sixers can get it done without Joel Embiid.
That might be the biggest topic of the past 48 hours, Joel’s game three status, but we’re talking about a team that just won nine games in a row minus the superstar center.
When you re-watch game two, you can look at Miami’s increased pressure and physical play and tip your hat to Dwyane Wade for his phenomenal individual effort. You can also look at the fact that the Sixers didn’t shoot the ball well, suffered a horrendous second quarter, and still cut the lead to two points deep in the fourth quarter.
Going with the glass half full approach, we’ll start with that topic:
1. Uncontested Field Goals
How much of the Sixers’ shooting struggles were due to Miami’s more intense approach, versus simply missing open shots?
Luckily for us, the NBA keeps statistics to help us determine that.
I edited the chart below to show each player’s minutes and overall field goal percentage. The other six categories are fairly straightforward:
- CFGM = contested field goals made
- CFGA = contested field goals attempted
- CFG% = contested field goal percentage
- UFGM = uncontested field goals made
- UFGA = uncontested field goals attempted
- UFG% = uncontested field goal percentage
The NBA defines a contested field goal as “any shot where the closest defender is within 3.5 feet.”
Taking that into account, here you go:
They only shot 30.2% on uncontested looks. JJ Redick was especially poor here, hitting just 1-9 vs. a 3-4 contested field goal mark. Marco Belinelli hit just 3 of 10 uncontested looks and Robert Covington was 2-7.
For comparison, those three players were 6-10 (Redick), 6-11 (Belinelli), and 3-6 (Covington) in this category in game one. The entire team was 56.5% in uncontested field goals, so it lends a lot of truth to the idea that they just weren’t hitting on Monday night. Still, you give credit to Miami for being disruptive and pestering on the perimeter and making guys more uncomfortable in general, but I highly doubt the Sixers shoot 19.4% from three again this series.