Joel Embiid reacts to Sixers trapping defense, made it tough to rebound

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Ky Carlin
·3 min read
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The Philadelphia 76ers were facing a unique opponent on Thursday in the form of Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. He is a guy who can shoot it from anywhere, he can get to the basket at will, and he can also score in the midrange. There is nothing Lillard can’t do on offense.

So, to try and stop him, the Sixers pulled out a trapping defense. Lillard scored 19 points in the first quarter, but he only scored 11 most of the way. A combination of the trapping defensive scheme plus the play of Ben Simmons forced him into a 6-for-21 shooting night.

The defense did affect big man Joel Embiid a bit who had to be more active on that end than usual. He had to come out out of the paint a bit more and he had to make sure he was there with his rotations out on the perimeter rather than just dropping back.

“That was new for me,” he explained. “You look at Dame, we trapped him a lot. He went 6-for-21 from the field. We had to do that especially against that type of player and how deep he can shoot the ball. I thought, at times, we did a great job with our rotations, most of the night, we did a great job just playing out of it and we didn’t get the win. The guards were trapping and we made it tough on them.”

Coming out of the paint a bit more seemed to have made it tough for the big fella to hustle back and grab a rebound. Blazers big man Enes Kanter grabbed 14 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive glass, and the defensive scheme seemed to take Embiid out of position.

“It’s tough especially when you play against that type of rebounder,” Embiid added. “He has a knack for always putting himself in the right positions on offense to get the balls off the rebound. Especially when you add that because I’m always trying to help my teammate and when you also add me coming up and trapping the ball-handler, it gets tough.”

Because of the traps and the different rotations that had Embiid out of the paint, that means somebody else had to drop back and try and keep Kanter off the glass. Those seven offensive rebounds helped contribute to 18 second-chance points for Portland on the night.

“We’re in a lot of rotations and for most of the time, you find yourself in a lot of mismatches and that’s how he gets a lot of offensive rebounds, but we executed a game plan,” Embiid explained. “At times, it wasn’t good and at times, it was good, so we just gotta learn from it move on.”

The Sixers will now move on to face the Phoenix Suns on Saturday where they will be facing another big scorer in Devin Booker.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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