After the Denver Nuggets won Game 1, the Portland Trail Blazers knew their backs were against the wall in Game 2.
Portland played with a sense of urgency tonight, which was enough to propel them to a victory.
In the first game of this series, Portland tried to rely on hero ball to win as Damian Lillard scored 39 points.
Tonight, the Blazers resorted to a collective team effort, which proved to be the difference that netted them the win.
The performance of Portland’s role players overshadowed the fact that Lillard had a really rough night. The All-NBA point guard finished going 5 for 17 from the field, having scored just 14 points.
The series now turns to Portland, as the Trail Blazers look to protect their newfound home court advantage in the series at the Moda Center on Friday night.
Top 20 Greatest Sports Movies of All-Time
Sports movies are the perfect personification of everything that we love about sports. They give the audience the same thrilling emotion that goes into the competition of sports, but with a dash of movie magic.
Stories of perseverance such Rudy or Rocky teach you to never give you up. While movies like Replacements and Bad News Bears show how any group of misfits can come together as a team to overcome all odds.
Now before we get into this list one thing needs to be made clear, there is spoilers that lie ahead as we look back at the Best Sports Movies of all-time.
The Process May Be Complete But It’s Also Really Expensive
When Sam Hinkie was hired to be the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, he declared that there would be a process to making them a championship-caliber team.
In turned out, “The Process” was to lose as many games as possible to have the best odds to win the lottery and draft franchise-altering talent.
Throughout that process, there was plenty of swing-and-misses along the way, such as top picks Jahlil Okafer and Markell Fultz. But the net result was two superstars capable of being top-10 players in this league.
Joel Embiid, 25, has embraced “The Process” mantra, even turning it into his nickname. When he is healthy, Embiid may just be the best center in the NBA.
He has the ability to shrink the floor as an exceptional rim protector on the defensive end, meanwhile being an all-around offensive weapon. Embiid could easily be the league MVP one of these days if he puts it all together and stays on the court.
The same can be said for Ben Simmons, as the 6-foot-10 point guard brings a rare combination of size and skill to his game. Simmons needs to develop an outside shot, but it is not a stretch to put him in the conversation for being a top-five point guard in the NBA right now.
The Sixers have now built a roster around those two superstars, in an offseason that has seen them give out over $450 million in contracts.
Philadelphia’s first big move in free agency was to acquire veteran big man Al Horford, signing him to a four-year $109 million deal. Next the Sixers resigned Tobias Harris to a five-year $180 million contract.
The last piece in their offseason spending spree, was giving Simmons a $170 million contract extension to lock up their roster long-term.
The core of Simmons, Harris, Embiid and Horford are exceeding the NBA’s current salary cap of $109 million by $10 million themselves. Because of those deals, the Sixers are surely to be paying heavy luxury taxes for years to come.
While the team is going to cost a lot, they have a chance to become a dynasty in the Eastern Conference, with potentially the best starting five in the NBA.
A big underrated addition of the offseason, was acquiring shooting guard Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat.
Richardson, 25, led the Heat in scoring last year and is the final piece in the Sixers starting five. Richardson is a career 37% three-point shooter and a great on-ball defender on the other end.
More importantly, Richardson is only in the second year of a reasonable four-year $42 million extension that he signed with the Heat.
While he may not be the same caliber player as Butler, Richardson will fit nicely with the rest of the Sixers young core and he comes at a much cheaper price tag.
Now it is up to this Sixers team to prove that they are worth the money and deliver the first championship to Philadelphia since 1983.
Ben Simmons Signs a Five-Year Max Contract Extension with Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers believe that “The Process” is complete and their time to win is right now and for good reason. After years of tanking, the Sixers hit on two of their draft picks.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have provided Philadelphia with two homegrown All-Stars to build around.
While there is certainly flaws in both of their superstars, they both still warrant max level money for their production. And as of today, that is exactly what Simmons is going to get.
Simmons has only played two full seasons in the NBA, after missing his first year due to injury, and now has signed a nine-figure deal.
The 2018 Rookie of the Year has earned that payday after a great start to his career. Simmons certainly knows how to stuff a stat-sheet as he is averaging 16.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game in his young career.
While Simmons has led the Sixers to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, there is still a lot of question about his game, due to his inability to play away from the basket.
Simmons has still never made an NBA three-pointer, in a day and age where everyone seems to be living behind the three-point line.
Simmons gets by with explosive athleticism, great basketball I.Q. and his exceptional skills as a passer. Those traits, along with his ability to run the point despite being nearly seven-feet tall, has made Simmons one of the most rare talents in the NBA.
Still, there are limitations to his game, which have become more obvious in the playoffs when the game is played more in the half court and less in transition.
For him to really unlock his game, Simmons needs to develop a jump shot that the defense at least has to respect.
While that will not be an easy task, Simmons still offers the Sixers endless potential as he is still a week away from his 23rd birthday.
If Simmons does unlock his full potential, the Sixers have to be considered a favorite to complete the process and win the championship next year.
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