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Tobias Harris is defending his ass off

While Joel Embiid deserves a ton of the credit for the Sixers' success so far in the playoffs, they would not be up 3-0 without the shutdown defense of Tobias Harris.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We're at the point in this series where spending too much time diving deep into analyzing it feels like it could be a waste of your time. No team has ever come back from an 0-3 hole in the NBA playoffs to win the series, and with the Sixers being the healthier team, the more talented team, and having two of the final three games on their home floor, I don't expect the Sixers to make NBA history here. In fact, I'd be surprised if this series lasts beyond Monday night.

Truth be told I already have an eye looking at Miami. That's 100% not the way the Sixers can be thinking right now, but my preparedness isn't going to have any impact on the outcome of the series, so I might as well just be honest with y'all.

While this series against Toronto is still front and center on everyone's minds, I do want to take one moment to give a tip of the cap to Tobias Harris. Harris is easy to overlook, as we naturally focus on Joel Embiid's superhuman feats, on Tyrese Maxey's absurd growth, and on analyzing every aspect of James Harden's game as we all try to come to our own conclusions about the ceiling the team currently has. But through all of that Tobias Harris is quietly having the best playoff series of his life.

Harris is averaging 19 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game so far in the series, shooting 58.8% from the field and 63.6% (7-11) from 3-point range. Those numbers only tell part of the story, though. While Harris scored 26 (on 9-14 shooting) and 20 (on 7-11) in the first two games, I thought Harris' 11-point Game 3 performance was the best of them all, with the Sixers' veteran forward doing his best Bruce Bowen impersonation on Pascal Siakam.

Harris has been the primary defender on Siakam in each of the three games so far this series. And while Siakam had marginal success against Harris in Game 1 (11 points and 1 assist in 31 possessions when defended by Harris, on 4-8 shooting), Harris has absolutely shut him down in the following two games. In fact, over the last two games Siakam has scored just six points on 3-10 shooting in 63 possessions, with Toronto's offensive focal point accumulating just three assists to two turnovers when defended by Harris.

Overall, Siakam is shooting 38.9% when Harris has been tasked with guarding him, and Raptors players overall are shooting just 38.5% against Harris in isolation sets.

All of those stats are imperfect, even on their best days. They're even noisier when you're talking about a sample size of just three games. But they're also completely in line with what we've seen on the court. Harris has anticipated Siakam's every move, slid his feet well on the perimeter, matched his physicality and has been locked in fighting through screens off the ball.

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