By the time Danny Green retired to the locker room on Thursday night, the 76ers already had about four useful players and the championship ticket is unlikely to return. Until then, they were also in the same plan.
For one night of despair, players who were healthy, close to healthy or not as a second division player would have to give everything they could. They would have to defend, bounce and run. They would have to compete.
“Just go out and play your game when you’re on the floor,” Doc Rivers would advise. “There is no basketball hero. Just play. That’s all you can do. And that’s what I’m waiting for. “
In the end, the Sixers failed to do so, staying in defense, refusing to run from edge to edge, contenting themselves with horrific punches and making a rebound in defense an option rather than a duty. For this, they, as usual, were expelled from the second round of the playoffs, losing 99-90 to the Miami Heat, which prematurely lowered the building.
“The turnaround in the second half and the sloppy game just killed us,” Rivers said. “But I thought it was all a game. I just didn’t like the way we played. “
The Sixers were so exalted, superior, slow, uninspired and inaccurate in their shooting that, unlike the last time they dropped out of the playoffs, they couldn’t even blame the whole single player’s decision not to try to be late. game soak.
“I know there’s Miami,” Rivers said. “I understand. You can see it. They are athletic and great. I just thought we had more. I really did. ”
The Sixers have been expecting a lot this season, as have their fans. They had a good team, they reworked it in terms of trade, and seemed to have a better team. But as the Heat have won the last two games of the series, scoring a total of 44 points, it has become clear that the Sixers did not have the team they thought they had assembled.
How he got to the point where Rivers barely had enough players ready for the championship to compete is a sporting mystery for centuries. The franchise spends money, regularly acquires star-level players, is ready to change personnel managers, pays the coach $ 8 million a year and – you don’t know? – once invested five years in bad basketball to once play at the championship level.
However, one way or another, they proved to be very deficient, less than healthy and in many places inexperienced.
Joel Ambid, whose candidacy for MVP and exercise is eternal, had difficulty catching the ball because of a dropped thumb. And while he was filming, he was clearly bothered by a protective face mask that protected his cracked orbital bone. Having a chance to prove why he’s so valuable, Embid made just seven shots out of 24, spent the night pushing through the lane, and carefully considered why Bam Adebayo makes a strong bid to bypass him on the NBA’s list of the best. centers.
The 32-year-old James Harden was neither what he used to be nor what the Sixers expected when they bought him from the Nets in the deadline, scoring 11 points and then getting upset that the ball hit him infrequently.
Tobias Harris – he has a contract for $ 180,000,000 – was able to add only one more proof that he is ridiculously overpaid. Tyris Maxi, who is developing in an all-star match, was ready, but not quite ready at the age of 21 to win a series of playoffs against the team of the Eastern Conference, which took first place.
Mathis Tibul, a great defender, was not ready to score a goal at the championship level before injuring his leg. He was then useless at the end of the offensive, replacing Green on Thursday for most of the night and giving up four points.
The Sixers have been trying to deceive Georges Niang, who is standing in the defender’s position, all year. Shake Milton played well on Thursday but had ample chance of becoming one of the best players in rotation and usually plays regular basketball.
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Green could shoot, but walked away four minutes with a knee injury.
And here’s the idea: come back with Furkan Korkmaz next year and see how it turns out.
“We tried so fast to create a team fighting for the championship,” said Harden, insulting the institutional knowledge of fans who have been waiting for him since 1983. “I still think we’re missing just a few pieces. But we kind of went for it right away and just failed. “
No, they did not have the talent to win. But they had wages to play hard on the night they were threatened with retirement. It was a reasonable requirement.
“I’m confident in this team,” Rivers said before the game. “I like this team. But we have to go out and do it. ”
Trust the process.
Contact Jack McCaffer at firstname.lastname@example.org