The Philadelphia 76ers began their 3-game road trip on Wednesday in a tough way as they were blown out by the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-85. The Sixers trailed by as many as 33 and it was one of those games where everything that could go wrong, did.
The Sixers looked tired as they continue to battle through this current tough stretch in the schedule and it looked like their legs were dead during the game. Cleveland scored 44 points in the second quarter on 16-for-17 shooting and they shot 73% in the first half.
All of that will culminate in a loss, but there is good news on the horizon as James Harden is targeting a return to the Sixers during this current road trip on Monday when they take on the Houston Rockets. The return of Harden will be a great sign, but it begs the question of whether Philadelphia will return to switching again on defense as they were when Harden was out there before the injury.
“We’re not switching,” Embiid told reporters. “Obviously, we have a system in place. I think at the beginning of the year, the mistake we made was we tried to go 1 through 5 a lot and we were OK doing it. Like I keep saying, I can do it, but that’s not just what I’m good at. I’m good at being around the rim and protecting the rim. So we have a formula.”
When Harden does return, if it is on Monday, the Sixers will want to be able to integrate him into what they’re doing on the defensive end. Outside of Wednesday’s debacle, Philadelphia was rising up the defensive ranks and they will now have to get The Beard in tune with what they’re doing.
“Since he’s been here, he’s buying into everything that we asked from him,” Embiid added. “I don’t know what the game plan is going to be, but what I know for a fact is that we’re gonna keep doing what brought us to the point where we are a top-three defense in the league, but he’s gonna be fine.”
Harden is such an elite offensive player as he creates plays for everybody involved on the floor. Therefore, the Sixers will really need him out there to run things and get Philadelphia going on that end of the floor.
As far as his defense, he will have to fit in with what the team wants.
“I think this year, he’s been good on that end so I don’t think there’s gonna be any problem or any adjustments,” Embiid finished. “I don’t know when he’s coming back, but I’ll be excited to get him back.”
The Sixers will continue their road trip on Friday when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies.
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