Jason Whitlock: ‘I’m not ready to jump ship on Philadelphia’

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Stephen Jackson and Jim Jackson join Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock to discuss Boston's victory over Philadelphia in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

- All right, Cowherd, have the-- Celtics taking control of this series, should they be the favorites?

- Yeah, I watched Bill Belichick last night. Every time the Patriots are in a game, Jacksonville, Seattle Super Bowl, Atlanta. We never feel they have the best players. And it always ends the same way. We're like, how did they win? Jacksonville had all great players.

And I'm watching that game last night. At one point, they are pounding Philly with Shane Larkin, 20-year-old Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier, who wouldn't start, unless Kyrie Irving was hurt, and Marcus Smart with a bad hand.

JASON WHITLOCK: Shooting hand at that.

- OK, and they're pounding Philly on a day rest. Like, this is what Belichick does in football. The two best coaches in American pro sports now, are in Boston. One is the football coach. And one is the hoops coach.

- I'm not ready to jump ship on Philadelphia. I'm going to write this off to a young team feeling itself, reading its press clippings, not realizing that the first round of the playoffs is different than the second round. The second round is different from the conference finals. And the finals are different from the NBA finals.

And so I just don't think the level of intensity-- I think it caught Philly off guard. Boston was more ready. I'm going to wait one more game. Boston and home playing well. They lost all their road games in the previous series against Milwaukee. I'm going to wait one more game before I jump ship on Philly.

- Couple of things. I think the Sixers are still a favorite. I think they're still in that prime position. But what you have, and this is to further your point about Boston. I'm a huge Steeler fan. We play New England, I cringe every time. This year, first down, end of the game, we got the ball we go nine yards. But it's a penalty.

Now it's first and 20 instead of second and 1. We beat ourselves. New England doesn't. That's what Boston did. Boston out-executed this Philly team who wasn't ready for the multiple movements in screen, and the activity. Because when, Steven, you know this, when you're not as talented, what Happens you have to out-execute your opponent.

And you got to think about it. Brad Stevens has been doing this since he's been at Butler. When he got to back to back Final Fours, he wasn't the most talented team. But they out-executed teams. They didn't turn the basketball over. They shot the ball well from the free throw line. All those components, as we saw last night, is what happened in that game.

But I still think the Sixers are favored. But this Boston team gonna be tough to beat.

- I still have this series as even, as it would be if it was 0-0. Philly still have developed their bed of talent. The two stars, Embiid and Simmons, but Embiid said it, they didn't execute. They didn't follow their game plan. And it showed last game.

Boston came out. They stuck to their game plan. They outplayed them, played harder, and wanted to game more and it showed. I think next game, they'll make some adjustments. But like Embiid said, next game they'll follow their game plan. And they'll be ready. It'll be a different outcome.

- If I had better ingredients, you were the better chef, who'd make the better meal? You.

- Yeah, I have more experience at cooking.

- I go out to dinner. But I mean--

- That margin of error is slimmer, too with Boston.

- The chef makes a better meal. There's also, I mean, I like Philadelphia. I said a couple of weeks ago, I can't wait to watch them play. I go to the TV set more for the Sixers than LeBron. There's four things about the Sixers, though, do we need to pump the brakes a little?

Number one, Embiid got hurt again last night. Markelle Fultz is available and a DNP. What's their track record? They got hot against bad teams in the East late beat Miami. Ben Simmons, last four minutes, can he shoot a free throw? Like I like them a lot.

JASON WHITLOCK: They're still a young team.

COLIN COWHERD: They've got some issues. And I think all of those are legitimate.

- I agree, but I want to ask you two former players that have, you won an NBA Championship. There ARE levels to the playoffs. That there's a different level of intensity that I don't think Philadelphia was ready for. Especially with all the adulation and celebration of what they did in the first round. And everybody anointing them. Oh, they're going to go to the Eastern Conference. I just don't think they handled the success well.

- Adulation, I'll asked you about that later. Yes, yes, you're exactly right. Making those same 3s in regular season is a totally different shot in that second round. Everybody can't make shots in the playoffs and make them in a regular season. It's tougher.

So you right. It's another level basketball. Each possession is tighter. And every team. And every player is not built for those moments. So we'll see, like Rozier, he's showing us, I'm built for this moment. Kyrie's not around, I can step up and play big. So everybody's not built for this moment. We'll see in these games.

- Keep in mind, Sixers had a chance. They broke the lead down a couple of times, to about 6 points, but he couldn't get over the hump. Defensively, they got to make adjustments.

Let's go back to your Golden State team, back when you played Dallas. OK everybody figured that Dallas was the more talented team. But you had the better match up. They couldn't match up with you.

You're going to see a little bit of this in this Boston series, where from a match up perspective, Brad Stevens is going to put Philadelphia players in situations where they gonna have to think once, twice, three, four times, multiple times when they're guarding the ball. So now that's going to open up opportunities.

STEPHEN JACKSON: And you making JJ Redick, Bellinelli--

- Thank you. That was my point.

- You making those guys guard.

- That's right.

- They went at Redick every chance they could. Mistake that the Pacers didn't make against Cleveland, Kyle Korver we talked about.

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