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The Trail Blazers can take positives from a tough 76ers loss

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the Portland Trail Blazers They made up the ground after a morale deficit of 26 points, however Philadelphia Seventy Sixers Halt the surge and pulled away with a 105-95 win Thursday night. In one of the most impressive performances of the season, the Sixers came in hungry and cleaned their plate as they dueled with textbook vibes.

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Although Damian Lillard and Jerami Grant combined for 49 points, all but two of the Blazers finished the night with a plus/minus score. The offense was in progress in the first half, but the shots didn’t fall, and by the time the second half rolled around and the Blazers began to see the bottom of the net, their opponents had time, not just the ball driven by Joel Embiid, to the club.

And speaking of Embiid, he totaled 30 points in the 25th game of the season. Blazers coach Chauncey Billups didn’t have an answer for Cameroon’s MVP candidate. He was assisted by a James Harden triple-double on 11 shots, and Terese Maxey’s 15 points off the bench.

Take some time to read us An instant recap from Ryne Buchanan Before we delve into the four most popular topics of the night.

different speeds

The 76s were as decisive as the commander-in-chief in the operating room. Not only was Philly getting into his positions with ease, he was executing as if he were playing a classic game of king of the hill. Limited dribbles, confidence and indecision – it was a sweet thing to watch for the casual fan and an inaccessible itch for the Blazers faithful.

Embiid was a monster that hunted, shot, and wreaked havoc. He started early, letting him fly around the free throw line. He showed his collection and his shot while diving into the basket. Maxi was a man on a mission as he took it to defend the Blazers. He and Embiid attempted 23 of Philadelphia’s 48 shots in the half.

Blazers played quickly. Blazers played hard. But the Blazers got a fumble when the defense climbed beyond 23 feet. What started as a quick movement of the ball, turned into a momentary pass caught, a neglect, and a slow hit.

James… am I not James?

Harden was hot. Not because of 16 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. Instead, he corrected something that severely hampered the Sixers in the 2022 playoffs — he didn’t get the air out of the ball. He would run into the rock off defensive rebounds and take a driving step. He also broke with his bad habit of looking for a foul during a hack, but actually fired with the intent to score.

Here’s a pattern: Not once did Harden take a shot off the capture board where Embiid was the sorting operator. The vast majority of the time, Embiid sets up rebounds for easy passes. He rarely kicked it to the tough guy on the wing.

This was a trend that Pelops should have picked up on, and he hasn’t. Admittedly, Harden is still enough for a triple threat star who can get blasted by his defender, hit the floater, and hit the trailing triple-pointer, so it’s easier said than done. But, Portland had a better chance of slowing him down than Embiid, and it just wasn’t possible on the night.

By the time Anfernee Simons caught the top pass to Embiid at the 3:34 mark of the fourth and Jusuf Nurkic got the poke at the 1:44 mark, it was too little, too late.

Play through the middle of the floor

Lillard would see triple-double teams sporadically and frequently throughout the game, especially when Coach Rivers’ second unit came on defense at their 2-3 zone. When possible, Dam and his teammates fancied driving into the middle of the paint before heading into the shooters in the corners. While it was just one of those nights where the shots didn’t fall, especially early on, the breakout collapsed the defense resulting in a slew of open shots from the outside.

Thus, once the slasher gets to the paint position and the defense shrinks, this has enabled Josh Hart to be a hockey assistant. Unfortunately, most of those swing passes didn’t result in points.

Thinking about crime

Rip City were up 14-0 at the end of the third quarter. Once the offense became more diversified, the Blazers pushed into a lead that was just minutes away from being insurmountable.

Lillard’s Achilles’ heel since New Orleans Pelicans His first round series in 2018 was his effectiveness on the turn. Offsetting this weakness, the Weber State product elected to go to the baseline tonight, splitting the defense at the top of the key and scouting the wingers instead. He rarely used these tactics in the first half but settled in later on.

That, along with Nasir Little’s spark plug productivity, helped make this a real game heading into the fourth quarter. The complexity of the offense was a major theme in the final 24 minutes of regulation.

It must be said that Coach Billups had almost no faith in Nurkic to create his own shot at all. He did not get his usual touchdown running low to middle, despite hitting 10 shots.

Portland has found a late rhythm, and once the weight of that loss wears off, they’ll have some positives to build on in the movie over the weekend.

next one

square score

The toughest game in the six-game home of the Trail Blazers is now behind them. They must have a short memory and quickly forget this loss, because they are destined to face Los Angeles Lakers Sunday in what should be considered a must-win match.

LeBron James in his fight with Father Time. He and his team should be considered a threat no matter how far behind they were in the rankings.

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