Sixers have a Wild Card in an attempt to limit Beal and Westbrook in the playoffs
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers acknowledged earlier this week that the Sixers will have their hands full with Wizards star Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.
On the one hand you have Russ pushing the ball across the floor, putting a ton of pressure [on us]. Trying to be the most physical guard on the show, “said Rivers.” And then you have Bradley – he’s just a flamethrower. So you have to face both. It’s neither. It’s both.
“One is an MVP and one of the league’s top scorers at Beal,” Sixers goaltender Ben Simmons said. “It’s going to be a tough game and a tough challenge for me and the other guys guarding these guys. But we’re here for a reason and we’re looking forward to the game. Lots of respect for this team. They“ you come prepared.
Beal is averaging 31.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game on 34.9% three-pointers, finishing second in the NBA in scoring this season, behind Steph Curry. Meanwhile, Westbrook completed a triple-double every night, scoring 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game.
The Sixers will use a number of defenders in the duo, with Simmons, Danny Green, Matisee Thybulle, George Hill and Tobias Harris getting most of the reps.
The joker could be Thybulle.
In his sophomore year, Thybulle cemented himself as one of the best defensemen in the NBA, having a real shot at making an All-Defense squad if he played more minutes, which could happen in the playoffs.
“I have the impression that if [Matisse] had the same amount of minutes as I did, he would easily be Defensive Player of the Year, ”Simmons said earlier this month.
With the Wizards’ offensive firepower, could the Sixers give more minutes?
It’s definitely something to watch as this series comes to fruition, as Thybulle could turn out to be a wildcard throughout these playoffs. With potential clashes with Beal, Westbrook, Trea Young, Julius Randle, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Kris Middletown and of course the three-headed Nets monster of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, Thybulle could see his minutes extended and to be the wild card in these playoffs.