Young Sixers big man Paul Reed seems enthused for his larger role with the club after serving as the team’s primary backup center behind Joel Embiid during its first round matchup against the Raptors, per Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 6’9″ 22-year-old was selected with the No. 58 out of DePaul in 2020.
“I’ve just got to take full advantage of it and make sure that I help the team win any way I can,” Reed said during Philadelphia’s eventual 4-2 defeat of Toronto. “That’s the most important thing for me.”
Reed averaged 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in the Toronto series. In Game 1 against the Heat, an eventual 106-92 loss, Reed played for 13 minutes, scoring four points on 2-of-6 shooting, while pulling down nine rebounds and dishing out four assists. He also recorded a steal and a block.
“He’s learning so fast and he’s a hell of a player,” fellow Sixers reserve center DeAndre Jordan, who started for Game 1 ahead of Reed, said. “So we’re going to need that from him, mistakes and all.”
There’s more out of Philadelphia:
- Reed expressed confidence that the Sixers can defeat the Heat, regardless of their Game 1 loss in Miami, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Honestly, I think we can definitely beat this team,” Reed said. “We go out there and be more physical than them and play more aggressive. Keep them on their heels. They’re going to fold. We saw that happen in the second quarter and a little bit in the first. I think that’s one thing we realized facing this team.” Reed considers defense the club’s most imperative task in beating the Heat. “The only thing we have to worry about is locking them down every possession and getting out in transition,” he said. “Once we do that, they can’t stop us.”
- Considering that MVP finalist Joel Embiid will be sidelined until at least Game 3 with an orbital fracture and concussion, the Sixers clearly need 2018 MVP point guard James Harden to help carry the club’s burden on offense. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN wonders if the veteran All-Star is up to the task at this stage in his career. Shelburne notes that Harden has not scored 25 points or more across 11 straight playoff games, including Game 1. Harden struggled to create space as the focal point of Miami’s defensive attention with his All-Star center counterpart out. “They did a really good job of just boxes and elbows, showing their bodies and crowding the ball when the ball screens came,” Harden said. “But I think the shot-making is what opens up the floor for our entire team.”
- With Embiid sidelined, the Sixers explored some smaller lineups against the Heat in Game 1, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Head coach Doc Rivers conceded that some small-ball rotations proved more effective than others. “We love Paul [Millsap], but… I don’t love the matchup with Paul and Bam Adebayo,” Rivers said. “We wanted more speed on the floor [than Jordan or Millsap], so we could do more switching. When we go zone and switch, we like Paul Reed on the floor.” Rivers went on to suggest that he likes lineups with Georges Niang or Reed at center surrounded by shooters elsewhere, but that the team struggled to secure rebounds against Miami with those players at center in the second half.