In today's newsletter:
- Thoughts on Embiid, the MVP award, and turning this team of misfit parts into a viable Eastern Conference threat.
- The stat that mattered.
- They said it.
- Where things stand.
- Link roundup
The Sixers returned to Philadelphia just five days ago with their backs up against the wall, down 0-2 and just one loss away from an uphill climb that no team in NBA history has ever successfully come back from. They had just come off of a two game set down in Miami where they couldn't shoot, couldn't defend their man in the half-court, couldn't rebound when they went to a zone, and struggled to handle Miami's defensive pressure on the perimeter.
That all changed in the span of 48 hours, as the Sixers comfortably controlled both games in Philadelphia to send the series back down to South Beach with the Sixers now having a fresh lease on their playoff lives, the second round now being shortened to a best-of-three sprint.
The reason for the renewed optimism is, well, obvious.
"Well, Joel's gonna be on the plane," head coach Doc Rivers said when asked how they can carry this momentum to Miami and avoid the outcome they experienced in the first two games of the series.