There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Sixers’ epic collapse Wednesday night.

Ben Simmons will rightfully receive a lot of it. His abysmal free throw shooting and lack of involvement on offense late in games have doomed his team. Doc Rivers’ refusal to stagger lineups and continuing to incorporate a mostly bench unit has led to big Hawks’ runs. Tobias Harris, who signed the richest contract in franchise history, has been invisible for six straight quarters.

All of that may be ignoring the biggest issue — a lack of shot creation.

The Hawks were able to get back into the game Wednesday because they dusted off Lou Williams, still a dangerous scorer at 34 years old. Williams, who took one shot in the first half and hasn’t been much of a factor in the series, scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and was a preposterous plus-23.

Atlanta obviously also has Trae Young, as lethal as they come as a creator. Young dropped 13 of his 39 in that dumpster fire of a fourth quarter. Young and Williams helped the Hawks score 40 points in the final period.

That cannot happen in a home playoff game in which you were up 18 heading into the fourth.

But the Sixers’ offense was arguably even worse, not capitalizing on the dearth of defense a Williams-Young backcourt produces.

Only two players made field goals in the second half: Joel Embiid and Seth Curry. Over the final 6:25 of the game the Sixers hit one shot from the field — a Curry jumper at the buzzer with the game decided. They scored 19 points in the fourth, at times appearing like they were hoping Embiid would bail them out.

That cannot happen in a home playoff game in which you were up 18 heading into the fourth.

There’s been a recipe that worked all season long for the Sixers and allowed them to capture the East’s top spot. Embiid is the focal point of the offense, Harris provides the complementary scoring and Simmons facilitates.

While he struggled down the stretch with extra attention, Embiid could hardly be blamed for the lackluster offense. Over the last six quarters, Harris and Simmons have combined for 21 points on just 7 of 21. Harris scored just four points in Game 5. Simmons hit 4 of 14 free throws and is now shooting 32.8 percent from the line this postseason.

That cannot happen in a home playoff game in which you were up 18 heading into the fourth.

There’s going to be a ton of debate over what’s next if the Sixers are unable to win the next two games. The questions of whether Embiid and Simmons fit together will likely reappear. Trade machines will be fired up looking for a way to move on from Simmons and/or Harris.

Ultimately, the trio of Embiid, Simmons and Harris might not work out. The real sticking point will go back to the lack of a shot creator.

When the Hawks needed it, Williams and Young created offense to mount a nearly improbable comeback. When the Sixers needed it, nobody could go get their own bucket and stop the bleeding.

Can Daryl Morey work his magic to bring in a player with that type of skill set without moving Simmons or Harris? Possibly. We’ve seen Morey pull off what appears to be an absolute heist in acquiring Curry from the Mavericks for Josh Richardson and a second-rounder. He was also able to move Al Horford's albatross of a contract and acquire a useful player in Danny Green.

But it will be a challenge given that you’re paying near-max money to three players already and none of them fit that criteria. Maybe this will be the offseason where Simmons finally has an epiphany, but Morey and the Sixers can’t count on that.

If the Sixers lose this series, there needs to be a shakeup.

The result of that shakeup better net them a shot creator or we’ll be having the same conversations a year from now.

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