By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high as they faced the Portland Trailblazers in a prime-time match-up. Philly fell victim to the trap game and a hot shooting night. As they were blazed by Portland 121-105.
Philly entered this game missing a key piece as guard/forward Ben Simmons did not play because of calf tightness. Despite that it was looking good early in the game for the Sixers. Unlike last night they hit their first four shots and started out hot. Guard Furkan Korkmaz scored 10 of his 13-points in the first quarter. However, what would loom large throughout this game, was the power outage from beyond the arc. Sixers shot a woeful 25.9 % from beyond the arc. That really was the difference in this game.
On what was missing tonight, “We just didn’t have energy, we didn’t have it all game,” said Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Center Joel Embiid did all he could to keep Philly in the game. He scored 30 of his 37-points by half-time. He was the anchor for the defense. However, he does not play on the perimeter. The defense beyond the paint was a huge problem for Philly. Portland was able to shoot the lights out from beyond the arc. They hit 44.8% of their threes.
This game for Portland was decided the third quarter. The Blazers went on a 14-0 scoring run that basically decided the game. Philly had no answer for Portland’s shooters. They clearly were missing the perimeter defense of Simmons and the playmaking as well. The guards for Portland were able to hit any shot they wanted from the perimeter against the clearly overmatched Philly defenders. Portland guards Gary Trent Jr (24-points) and Rodney Hood (16-points) combined for 40 of Portland’s 121-points.
Philly clearly fell victim to several things playing the second game of a back-to-back and the trap game. They have a prime-time match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. They did not bring the effort on both sides of the ball. In fact, besides Joel Embiid, it seems like everyone else left their game in Charlotte last night.
They need to bring a better effort and get more players involved on offense besides Embiid as they face the three-headed scoring attack of Brooklyn this weekend. The Blazers clearly showed that the perimeter is a huge weak spot for Philly. They will need to clean it up if they want to beat the Nets.