On April 16, Beijing time, the playoffs finally kicked off, with the 76ers defeating the Nets 121-101 at home, leading 1-0. As expected before the game, the gap between the Nets and the 76ers was obvious, and Mikal Bridges replaced Kevin Durant's skin and "punished" Joel Embiid with a mid-range shot. Helplessly, Embiid and James Harden formed a combination on the offensive end.
Bridges Boss First Experience
Midseasonally, Bridges was sent to the Nets in the Durant trade, and his role changed significantly, from a 3D player to an offensive arrow with the ball. Bridges averaged 26.1 points per game, shooting 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range, with a huge increase in production and efficiency.
Bridges' biggest change is that he has increased his offense on blocking and holding the ball, but there are always questions about Bridges, can he continue to be super efficient and productive in the more targeted playoffs? Today, Bridges played in the playoffs for the first time as the boss and gave the answer. In the game, Bridges shot 12 of 18, including 2 of 4 three-pointers, plus 4 free throws, and scored 30 points plus 5 rebounds.
Bridges played very targeted, targeting Embiid's strategy of shrinking the box, Bridges replaced Durant's skin and frantically used a half-volley to "punish" Embiid.
Like these two rounds, the opponent of Bridges is Harris, Bridges performs the block after the mid-range dry pull, with Harris's size, it is difficult for him to squeeze through the cover, and when he bypasses the cover to chase, even if he tries his best to interfere.
If Bridges catches Harden in a position with him, he will also use cover to get rid of the defense, hit Embiid directly, and even use the Golden Rooster independence. It can be seen that letting Bridges shoot is the established strategy of the 76ers, Embiid is indifferent most of the time, casually Bridges' attitude of throwing, and even bothering to interfere.
Bridges shot 5-of-6 from mid-range and 5-of-8 from inside the box and hit a couple of fairy balls. As an offensive arrow, Bridges delivered a good answer, and although he did not have as much containment as Durant, he at least responded to the 76ers' defensive strategy. The suspense is whether Bridges' style of play can maintain production and efficiency next, and how the 76ers will adjust their defensive strategy.
The attacking combo punch of the Dengdi combination
Due to Embiid's size advantage Tinker Nets, it can be expected before the game that the Nets will definitely pinch Embiid in large numbers. With the Nets' defensive style, if Harden performs a block, they will definitely change defenses a lot.
These scenes have appeared, but on the one hand, the Nets' execution has changed, and on the other hand, Embiid, Harden, and the shooter group have responded well.
Looking at this round, Harden and Embiid blocked, the Nets did change defense, but at this time it was the players who blocked Embiid who defended, and it was Harden who let them go. American journalists lamented on social media that the Nets first changed their defense and then pinched Embiid and let Harden go, which is very risky, because Harden is the assist king. Of course, given Harden's low frequency of three-point shooting, the Nets can understandably do so.
But Embiid and Harden responded, and they responded in several ways.
One is a simple and rough type, this shot Sharp did not change defense, Bridges let go of Harden rushed to wrap Embiid, Embiid directly faced the basket to break the bag, did not give the opponent the opportunity to form a substantial bag, which is one of his best skills this season.
One is that Embiid scored the ball to Harden, and this round Harden played a step back to play Dinwiddie who came to assist in defense, but in fact, if Harden did not hesitate at the first time, he could completely break through and would not give Dinwiddie the opportunity to put up a defensive posture.
This round is typical, Embiid and Harden use their strong containment to play hand-to-hand cooperation, Harden attracts the attention of Bridges' defense, and Harris directly grabs a position to make an easy small throw.
Embiid and Harden's separate performances are also worth saying, the former broke the bag easily, Harden used blocking and sudden points to connect Paul Reed, McDaniels and others when he led the second team.
Of course, the 76ers weren't perfect, with Harden hitting seven three-pointers today, but only 1 of eight from the three-point line. In the past two years, Harden has relied more and more on jumper feeling, how to increase production when he is not on the line? Embiid's defensive intensity still has room to improve. Although the Nets don't have much room to adjust, the 76ers still can't take it lightly.