Originally compiled from: The Ringer
Originally written by Zach Kram
原文标题：Five Key Numbers That Explain Celtics-Sixers So Far
The 76ers tied the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Celtics, G1 James Harden hit a winning 3-pointer to score 45 points to help the 76ers take the lead, and the G2 Celtics responded with a 121-87 victory over Joel Embiid's 76ers. What information can the first two games give us to predict the next step in the series? Consider five pieces of data.
In G1, the Celtics shot 65.3 percent from the field, the highest percentage in NBA playoff history. However, the Celtics did not rely on their typical style of play to play super high offensive efficiency, because the Celtics, who averaged 43 three-pointers per game in the regular season, only made 26 three-point shots, and they took advantage of Embiid's absence to attack the basket wildly.
The Celtics G1 shoots 36 percent of their shots at the basket and shoots 85 percent from the field. However, G2, due to Embiid's comeback, the Celtics' two figures dropped to 18% and 62%, respectively.
Embiid returned from a two-week break and scored just 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting on the offensive end, but his performance on the defensive end encouraged the 76ers, who were quite committed to the box defense, and made five blocks in the first 13 minutes of the game, one more than the 76ers' G1 team.
That's the number of three-point shots in the first two games of the P.J. Tucker series, and he played only 3 shots in 58 minutes, including only 1 three-pointer. Tucker gave up a lot of shots, even when he could catch and shoot in his favorite bottom corner.
G1, the Celtics did not take advantage of Tucker's reluctance to shoot, and in most important rounds, they chose to have Horford switch to Harden and Smart to defend Tucker, although even if the Celtics empty Tucker, he can't make the opponent pay.
But G2 is different, the Celtics continue to let Tucker go to assist in other positions, even if Tucker is in the strong side bottom corner, according to normal defensive logic, the defender will not let go of the strong side bottom corner to assist in defense.
Tucker may play a lot more time next, after all, the 76ers value his defensive contributions and physical confrontation. If the Celtics let him go entirely, he might be able to inflict damage on the Celtics by grabbing offensive rebounds, as he has done before with the Bucks and Heat.
But if the Celtics treat Tucker the way they did Tony Allen, Tucker probably shouldn't be a viable hiring option for the 76ers. During the regular season, opponents also empty Tucker, and the defender was 9.1 feet away from him. In the first round of the playoffs, the Nets defender was 11 feet away from Tucker, who shot only 3 of 15, a 20 percent percentage.
As the series progresses, the Celtics may be bolder to let Tucker help defend Embiid, Harden, and Maxey and force the 76ers to go on five, and Rivers may be forced to reduce Tucker's playing time. If Tucker plays less, a series of questions arise: Will Rivers use more of a back three? Can Harris take on the heavy lifting of defending Tatum? Can Niang open up space and defend well? Can Jalen McDaniels get a chance?
G1 Harden became the 76ers' offensive pivot, playing a signature game as a player with a dismal playoff career. However, after scoring 45 points in G1, Harden scored only 12 points on 2-of-14 shooting, 33 fewer points, and he looked more like Harden who ended his offensive struggle when he played the Nets in the first round, than Harden who led the 76ers without Embiid to complete the turnaround.
There are many small factors and tactical adjustments that can affect the direction of the series, but more important is how Harden performs in the rest of the series.
Last season, Grant Williams played a major role in the Celtics' reach to the Finals, scoring 27 points on seven three-pointers with the Bucks. But this season, Gwi has been in and out of Mazura's rotation and has played erratic minutes.
With the G1 of the 76ers, Gwee only played for 4 minutes without shooting. But in G2, Gwee played 29 minutes and scored 12 points, four rebounds and four assists on 4-of-8 shooting. It is no coincidence that Gwe's "resurrection" in the battle for Embiid's comeback is because he is the core of the Celtics' defensive new MVP from the regular season, he defended Embiid in 99 rounds and ranked first on the team, although his height and tonnage are far inferior to Embiid, but the Celtics appreciate his qualities of both confrontation and movement. In G2, Gwee played more minutes than Horford and Robert Williams, and he showed an offensive and defensive performance. In a contract year, if he has the ability to take on heavier responsibilities and influence the course of the series, it will undoubtedly help him to get a big contract this offseason.
G2, the surprising thing about the Celtics was that they scored a big win on Tatum's 1-of-7 shooting. Because, the Celtics had 6 scorers above their lead scorer, Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Smart and Gwey scored higher than Tatum, and even Pritchard, who played only 12 minutes in garbage time, scored higher than Tatum.
The most noteworthy of these six players are Brogdon and White, two guards who offer energy that the Celtics did not have last season. White was not consistent last season, but he is one of the Celtics' most consistent players this season, shooting 42 percent from three-point range in the playoffs. Brogdon won the Sixth Man of the Year award, and he was a perfect fit for the Celtics as a top scorer and second on the ball, with 20 points from G1 and 23 more from G2.
There's no doubt that Tatum needs to perform better, but if Brogdon and White shoot more than 50 percent from three-point range combined for 38 points, the Celtics could win on a rare mute night for the team's top star.