The Philadelphia 76ers got their behinds handed to them by the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their series, and Joel Embiid was not happy about it.
In Philadephia’s 117-101 loss to the Celtics on Sunday, it appeared all that transpired was the 76ers missed a lot of makable shots, and the Celtics simply did not. Looking at the numbers, the Celtics shot about 48 percent, while the 76ers shot about 42. That’s not a huge difference.
But looking a little closer — at the 3-point numbers to be exact — and it is easy to see what happened. Embiid thinks his team’s loss has all to do with defense, per Jay King of The Athletic.
Joel Embiid: “Defensively we were trash.”
“I think last night was more about them breaking us down instead of effort. It was more about a game plan and them executing their offense. And we didn’t take them out of it. So we need to do a better job.”
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) May 1, 2018
Remember those 3-point numbers? Here they are: The Celtics shot a blistering 17 of 35 from beyond the arc in Game 1. That’s just 1.4 percentage points shy of 50 percent. Man you those looks were wide open and in rhythm, which is why Embiid is talking about Philly’s bad defense.
Celtics point guard Terry Rozier made seven of his nine 3s. In the regular season, Rozier shot just 38.1 percent from that distance, per NBA stats. That number is decent enough that a defender has to run out at him if he’s going to shoot, but their definitely like close to how he shot in Game 1. Which, again, points to poor defense on at least some of the shots.
A team like the Celtics, who are missing two legitimate star players, needs to play in rhythm in order to have success. If the 76ers are going to let them play in that rhythm, they’re not going to win this series.
In short, Embiid is right.