Yesterday, Simmons held his hand to his ear calling for more noise from the Philadelphia crowd.
After scoring a pedestrian 102 points in their Game 1 loss, the 76ers got their offense on track in a 145-123 win over the Nets last night. That 43-point regulation scoring increase between games of a playoff series is the largest in the last three postseasons and tied for 14th-largest of the shot-clock era.
Here are the biggest regulation scoring increases between games of a playoff series in the shot-clock era:
Philadelphia had six more possessions in Game 2 than Game 1, but pace doesn’t cloud the picture here. The 76ers are better when they play faster.
Even considering pace, the picture is rosy. Philadelphia’s offensive rating went from 103.0 to 138.1. Based on regular-season team rankings, that’s the equivalent of going from worst than last place to far better than first place.
Here’s the 76ers Game 1 and 2 offensive ratings on the scale of each team’s regular-season offensive rating. Scroll wayyyy down for Game 2:
Simmons keyed Philadelphia’s turnaround. At his best, he attacks the basket in transition and semi-transition. That either creates easy looks for him or, if the defense collapses to stop him, he has the passing skills to find open teammates. There are still questions whether that style works against better defenses, but it sure did yesterday. Simmons finished with 18 points and 12 assists.
Joel Embiid still looks hobbled, but he was no longer limited to hanging on the perimeter. After shooting 0-for-5 on 3-pointers in Game 1, Embiid scored 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting (all inside the arc).
J.J. Redick and Mike Scott got on track with their distance shooting. After continuing his slow start to the series, Tobias Harris eventually found a rhythm within Game 2. Boban Marjanovic was sinking short jumper after short jumper. Offensive minus Jonathon Simmons got pulled from the rotation.
Jimmy Butler, the lone impressive 76er in Game 1, faded. (Nobody should overreact to a single game, but performances like these could give Philadelphia pause when Butler hits free agency this summer).
But this was a grand display of offensive execution.
The 76ers shot 61% on 2-pointers, 39% on 3-pointers and 81% on free throws. They grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to Brooklyn’s just 20 defensive rebounds. And they limited their turnovers to a reasonable 12.
Philadelphia’s 145 points were the most in a playoff game since 1992 (Trail Blazers 153, Suns 151 in 2OT) and most in a playoff regulation since 1990 (Celtics 157, Knicks 128).
That output is not a total shock. The 76ers projected to have one of the postseason’s best offenses, and the Nets projected to have one of the postseason’s worst defenses.
But after Game 1, it was sure tough to see this coming.