While it hasn’t always been sunny in Philadelphia, the 76ers are looking for their first playoff sweep in the NBA Playoffs since the 1984-85 postseason when they swept the Milwaukee Bucks. Of course, there is a long way to go, but this series has shown Sixer’s fans a lot about the adjustments that key players on the team have, and they need to be highlighted.
Tobias has had all the reason to start slow in any playoff series. He is now the fourth option on a championship-contending team; he was considered the second option when entering the season. Yet, Harris has understood that you can impact a team in multiple ways. Harris’s defense has been phenomenal in this series. For example, this possession was late in game 3.
Tobias Harris has been playing his absolute best defense against the Raptors. He's been great overall this series, and has really stepped up at that end of the floor as well.
This was a huge stop from him in overtime last night: pic.twitter.com/H29YCcb66d
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) April 21, 2022
Not only was that a critical defensive moment in the game, but the awareness of not immediately attacking the basket and throwing up a wild shot shows maturity. Let’s also not act like Harris has been poor on the offensive end.
Tobias Harris through 3 postseason games:
— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) April 21, 2022
This is about as efficient as you can get with the number of opportunities he is given. Tobias Harris, to me, has played like a 180 million dollar player in this postseason so far.
One flaw in Doc Rivers’s illustrious NBA coaching career is that he has always struggled to close games. During his tenure as a Sixers HC, that has not changed. In-game three and this series alone, I thought Doc had done a phenomenal job, and someone has to give this man his flowers. It’s easy to say he has done better because of the results, but I look at the play to start overtime. A counter to get Tyreese Maxey one v one on the weak side with no help defender (.55 in the clip below)
Tyrese Maxey Full Highlight Reel I 19 points I Sixers vs Raptors Game 3
It wasn't perfect but Tyrese Maxey came through in the clutch with two HUGE buckets during overtime, Maxey is an incredible +50 in 3 playoff games vs Toronto this series#Sixers #HereTheyCome #TyreseMaxey pic.twitter.com/r08ZSWQ0EW
— MRCROCKPOT TPL (@mrcrockpot) April 21, 2022
Then, of course, there is the gamer winner. Here’s an inside look at Doc drawing up the game-winning play.
Watch Doc Rivers call up the game winning play in the team huddle 🗣
Tobias Harris says this was his best screen ever
Joel Embiid first game winning shot in career with under a second left
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) April 21, 2022
At the beginning of this series, everybody knew that the Sixers were the more talented team, but one advantage the Raptors faithful thought they had was Nick Nurse over Doc Rivers. So far, Doc has shut that down.
Over the years, I have been very critical of Embiids play in the clutch. He hadn’t gotten it done when it mattered the most. That all changed Wednesday night in Toronto. Not only did Embiid hit the game-winner, but he had 28 points in the second half after struggling in the first half with only five points. I think Embiid has grown so much as a player; in 2019, Embiid doesn’t have that strong of a second-half; hell, I don’t think 2021 Embiid comes back like that. But, Embiid is clearly in the best shape of his life to the point that Sixers fans aren’t worried about him tiring out at the end of games, and this was the result, history.
EMBIID FOR THREE WITH 0.7 LEFT IN OT 😱 pic.twitter.com/mGayMHD6W1
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 21, 2022
— Basketball Reference (@bball_ref) April 21, 2022
Every heartbreak from Kawhi’s shot to blowing the series vs. the Hawks, Tobias Harris, Doc Rivers, and Joel Embiid have grown and it has only made them better.