Tension, boos, controversy, debts and even a “pop.” All of this was expected by Washington this morning. Passively and actively, because it was what came to him and what he wanted to come to him. In basketball, the Sixers are leaving little room for improvisation (today, 103-132); in the extra sport, the series is having it all. And it has continued to accumulate. Joel Embiid has kept piling it up, to be precise. Overwhelming and warlike dominance in the mud for the pivot, in the terms in which the duel is moving. He got his highest score in playoffs and accepted the provocations of the public, which found a response. 36 points and 8 rebounds, on the one hand; and hands on the ears and finger on the lips on the other. Asking for more noise and, at the same time, commanding silence. Being the lord and master of the night and of the series, which is already at historic heights. Beating after beating, the Philadelphia team have joined the 2020 Jazz, 2019 Warriors, 1987 Lakers and 1986 Celtics by scoring more than 120 points in each of their first three postseason games. And their difference at the end of the match is the biggest since those playoffs 2001 that seem closer and closer.
In the previous one he had already warned, but he was tempted to luck. “I love to play outside because people scold you. And for me, personally, it makes me play even better, because I want to shut their mouths “, the Cameroonian pivot had said, and he did not lie. Here you play what he wants, even if there are two titans like Bradley Beal or Russell Westbrook in front of them. Clínic in a reduced format, in just 28 minutes and leaving its mark on the record book: since 1955, its performance represents the second highest score in the fewest number of minutes. Here the Embiid law is observed and, who does not do so, must bear the consequences. For now, fatal for the Wizards, with a 3-0 in the tie that has never been traced throughout history. Extremely difficult, embracing the impossible, let it be this time.
The Sixers play how they were expected to play. And, far from being counterproductive, because of its predictability, it is fearsome. Daryl Morey came to find the formula and has done his job well. This time around, he didn’t need big displays of advanced statistics or magic formulas. Any basketball fan was capable of finding the fault of a team with an inside game capable of overwhelming anyone, but that was drowning alone, without air in an uninhabited perimeter. Today, 17 out of 33 from long distance, 51.5% much higher than the local 22.9% and with names and surnames: Seth Curry (3 out of 6) and Danny Green (5 out of 9). With Embiid as a special guest (3 of 4), who does not want to lose one, and George Hill tracing his role in the Bucks: from the bench, but infallible (1 of 1). The Wizards found little response to this siege, who also lost in the inside game (51 rebounds by 41 and 48 points by 42) and could not prevail even on the counterattack, in that exhausting pace that they like so much … and that they did not find .
Lost, touched and …
Those of Washington could only taste to go ahead in the first two minutes of the game, with a penetration and a basket from the middle distance of Bradley Beal that put the 2 to 4 and the last touch of hope. From there, Hurricane Sixer, with severe blows from all corners and with different temperatures. They could temporize (Embiid rested the entire last quarter) and, even so, the final advantage was 29 points. It got to be 31 and, at halftime, it was already 14. Two perfect halves, who did not give up a quarter and who had their defining moment in the second, with a provocation to the beast that, if it had had little mercy so far, it would have even less. Against all odds, Embiid, like a train out of track, failed a mate with everything in his favor. From the stands, how could it be otherwise, laughter and murmurs intermixed between shouts of MVP, who knows if ironic or a fan who was also loose around there. What I needed to sentence. Then, wall deception with Curry, shooting feint and clear lane so as not to repeat the mistake: overwhelming crush against a Rui Hachimura who, without any fault, took the worst part. 57-59 on the scoreboard, hands to ears and journey without turning back.
Beal and Westbrook tried to show opposition, but in a totally innocuous way. Both came to the game touched (Russell, in fact, was doubtful until the warm-up) and, although they held on until the end, they died very soon. 25 + 6 + 3 for the first and 26 + 12 + 10 for the second, but in the middle of loneliness; only with the support of Daniel Gafford (16 + 6) and, occasionally, of the unfortunate Hachimura (10 + 5). Davis Bertans (1 of 5 in triples) is still desperate and from the bench there are no solutions. Ahead, quite the opposite, with Ben Simmons being Ben Simmons (14 + 5 + 9), Tobias Harris maintaining his best version (20 + 13 + 5) and the rest adding. Matisse Thybulle on the defensive end, Dwight Howard to take over from Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton in the cool … Many arguments to think big. Surely, the same ones that some heroic Wizards lack when they get to where they have come, but that, facing the next season (except for a miracle), they will have to rethink many things and, above all, scare away setbacks, because there have been many.