A frustrated Joel Embiid, at home, facing a Spurs team on a back to back. This has the makings of “get right” game. Things have not gone according to plan the first two games of the season for Embiid and the 76ers, dropping home games to the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. After hot starts by Embiid and the rest of the offense, the ball movement has turned somewhat stagnant in the second half, resulting in a vintage Harden ball dominated Rockets look. In order for this team to live up to its preseason hype, the offense needs to run through the big man, with Harden as the facilitator.
Through the first two games, one of the most noticeable discrepancies is Embiid’s free through attempts. They have been cut in half, down from almost 12 per game last year to only 6 per game currently. This is partially due to his shot selection early in the year. He has settled for more mid range jump shots (5 for 11) and threes (2 for 9), rather than his usual domination of paint opportunities. Tonight is a great spot for him to get back to what made him an MVP candidate last year and to regain his rhythm, facing a Spurs team that he has dominated over the last four matchups (38, 31, 34, 27 points). I look for Harden and the rest of the team to make it a point to feed Joel in the low post early and often in this advantageous matchup, allowing him to do what he does best, finish at the rim and draw fouls.