In today's newsletter:
- Quick thoughts on the Sixers' defensive improvement.
- Link roundup.
As we get a further removed from Joel Embiid's historic performance on Sunday night, I'm left thinking about the team at large and coming to two general conclusions.
- The offense has been bad, despite Embiid's individual heroics.
- The defense has been great.
Both sides of that equation are important, obviously. The Sixers need to be (way) better defensively than they were to start the season if they hope to compete, and credit to them for not only slowly inching back up towards respectability as the season has progressed, but being downright dominant over the past week. But the offense has to be better as well, as their current level of execution isn't going to get it done in the playoffs. Whether it's the play of Tyrese Maxey as the lead guard, the disappearance of PJ Tucker on offense or the brutal perimeter shooting as a team, they're not making the most of their offensive talent right now, and that's true even adjusting for the absence of James Harden.