The Philadelphia 76ers shocked the NBA viewing public on Monday when they dropped Game 1 to the Boston Celtics on the road. True, the Celtics had homecourt advantage but the Sixers looked like the best team in the Eastern Conference several times during their previous round series against the Miami Heat.
Plus, Philadelphia lost by 16 points, 117-101.
The Sixers had a defensive rating of 121.7 during Game 1, surprising given their regular season mark of 105 and the fact they were fourth in the NBA when it game to that stat.
Joel Embiid was central to that defense this season, but didn’t feel as though he had a good game against Boston. In fact, he thought it was downright awful. In his postgame conference, Embiid addressed Philadelphia’s defense.
Warning, some NSFW language ahead.
It starts on defense. I thought I was shitty. I thought we were all bad tonight. That’s not who we are, definitely. When everybody is on, we’re the best defensive team in the game. There’s a lot of stuff we gameplanned that we didn’t execute. Especially with Al [Horford] popping and him being wide open, that can’t happen. He’s a pretty good shooter so you’ve got to respect that. There’s a lot of adjustments we’ve got to make … correct them and we’ll be fine.
No doubt the Sixers are one of the more resilient teams in the East. The Heat gave them everything they could in an emotional series in the last round. They responded well for such a young team, and the Celtics are another big test.
Game 2 is on Thursday in Boston.