What a difference between games 1 and 2 for the Philadelphia 76ers.
After a brutal opening to the postseason, which included constant booing and the appearance of a cellphone on the bench, the Sixers found their groove and tied this series at one game apiece.
Game 2 provided the blueprint for success throughout this series and beyond: Aggressive Ben Simmons.
The new mindset
Ben Simmons is at his best when he’s aggressive attacking the basket. Also, the rest of the team benefits from it as well.
Simmons set the tone in Game 2 when he took the opening possession right to the rim. He didn’t score on that drive, but it signaled a different attitude and approach from the starting point guard.
He was efficient on his drives to the basket making 8 of 12 shots for his 18 points. A vast improvement from his nine-point performance in the opening game.
Simmons aggressiveness not only helps himself, but others as well. His 12 assists included setting screens for JJ Redick who capitalized on open looks and setting up easy layups for Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic.
His ability to get shooters open played a big role in the 51-point third quarter outburst for the Sixers.
JJ Redick, Mike Scott and Tobias Harris found the open space and made the Brooklyn Nets pay from the three-point line. It starts with Simmons and Embiid taking control of the paint and not shying away from contact.
This offense runs through Ben Simmons. They need an aggressive approach from Simmons every game the rest of the way.
The Power of Boban
The Sixers strength is the starting five. But that doesn’t mean others can’t come in and make a positive impact.
Marjanovic has been unstoppable when Embiid goes to the bench for rest. Head coach Brett Brown can use Marjanovic in this series off the bench due to the lack of three-point shooting centers on the Brooklyn Nets roster.
The Nets have played a lot of zone defense in this series, which hasn’t been a problem for the Sixers offense. Marjanovic has seen to that, with his ability to hit 12 to 18-foot shots from the middle of the court.
He looks more and more confident shooting further away from the basket and the Sixers are reaping the benefits.
Marjanovic scored 16 points and collected eight rebounds in just 18 minutes in Game 2 of the series.
Now the Sixers must take their show on the road from games 3 and 4 in Brooklyn. Hopefully, they leave Philadelphia with the same mindset and aggressiveness we saw Monday night.
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