TORONTO — When you lose Game 1 of a series, the word “adjustments” comes up an awful lot afterward.
After the Sixers’ loss Saturday night, “adjustments” was uttered by everyone that spoke. It was again the theme at practice on Sunday afternoon.
The biggest one, of course, is slowing down the duo of Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam. The two combined for 74 of the Raptors’ 108 points, shooting 28 of 38 (74 percent) in Game 1.
The Sixers started out with Jimmy Butler guarding Leonard, but we also saw a little bit of Tobias Harris and James Ennis on the three-time All-Star. None of them were effective, as Leonard went 12 of 13 from the field against that trio.
The one player that was actually successful was Ben Simmons. Simmons didn’t shut Leonard down, but held him to 4 of 9, including two missed threes. It seemed like Simmons’ length bothered Leonard a little bit as Leonard actually airballed his first shot attempt with Simmons on him.
Still, Brown has said all along he’s going to show Leonard a variety of looks and it sounds like he plans to stick with that game plan.
“You want to avoid a steady diet of a similar look,” Brown said. “These guys are that good that if you can maybe keep people guessing and a little more off balance, maybe that’s where the adjustments have their most effectiveness.”
While that type of performance will happen with a guy like Leonard, the emergence of Siakam as Toronto’s No. 2 option has been a scary development for the Sixers. Siakam is known for his speed in rushing down the floor in transition, but his game is becoming more diverse.
He was at 37 percent from three during the regular season, a number that has grown to 42 percent during the postseason. He also killed the Sixers on dribble drives, finishing with his great length and athleticism.
If “adjustments” was the big word, “showing them a crowd” was the big phrase. The team kept repeating that refrain in reference to both players.
The Sixers feel good about the changes they’ve made in their game plan for Game 2.
“I think really locking down on Kawhi and Siakam [is the biggest adjustment],” Simmons said. “Two guys that obviously had great games against us [Saturday], but we’re confident going into the next game.”
Will we see more of Simmons on Leonard Monday night?
“Yeah, probably,” Simmons said.
While Brown continues to harp on mixing things up on Leonard, it seems like he’s open to changes.
“Adjustments rule the day,” Brown said. “I can tell you that I wake up feeling good to go. I really feel like we can just come and be better than we were than the first game.”
They better be.
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