Game Recap: Joel Embiid and Karl Anthony-Towns Throw Down as the 76ers Move to 4-0

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Brawls, blowouts, and “bully-ball”. The Philadelphia 76ers imposed their physical will yet again on Wednesday night as they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves by a score of 117-95. In what turned out to be a game full of theatrics, the most important stat is always a “W”, as Philly improves to 4-0 on the season.

 Top Performers

Ben Simmons: 16 points, 7 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks

Furkan Korkmaz: 17 points (1 shy of career-high), ⅜ from three

Tobias Harris: 18 points, 9 rebounds, ⅓ from three

Game Summary

First Half

Unlike the last few games, the Sixers actually managed to jump out to a somewhat quick start against the TWolves. An early block and lob for Ben Simmons, a successful post up for Joel Embiid on Karl Anthony-Towns, and a bunch of missed threes for Minnesota led to Philly taking an early lead.

However, high turnovers for the Sixers in the first quarter (8) and some efficient 3-point shooting from Towns (3 for 5 on the night) led to the game not getting too out of control early on. The TWolves managing to keep it within 10 as the first quarter concluded.

The second quarter is when Brett Brown and the Sixers began to truly flex their physical might on both sides of the floor. Frequent post-ups for virtually every player on the court, intense rebounding, and lights out defense allowed Philly to pretty much end the game by halftime.

Rookie Matisse Thybulle and backup James Ennis exemplified the “bully-ball” mindset in this first half, as Thybulle had three steals plus a block and Ennis had six rebounds.

Second Half

Guess what? There was a fight in this game! As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, Towns and Embiid got into quite the mix-up in the second half. With 6:42 remaining in the third quarter, Towns let his frustration get the best of him and took a swing on Embiid. The two tackled each other onto the ground and a full-on moshpit ensued afterward.

Simmons came to Embiid’s defense, putting KAT in a headlock, and Mike Scott quickly congratulated Embiid for the physicality. Both members of the brawl were ejected, with Embiid exiting to a standing ovation as he simulated boxing moves like he was in the movie “Rocky”.

Despite a brief surge of energy from Minnesota, as they cut a 25 point deficit down to 14, the 76ers ultimately regained their rhythm and cruised to an easy 22 point victory. Al Horford and Furkan Korkmaz both made some big plays later down the stretch to ice things.

Key Takeaways

The Sixers are 4-0

Now one of just two unbeaten teams left in the NBA (San Antonio Spurs), the 76ers have accomplished a feat they haven’t achieved since back in 2001. What did Philly do in 2001? Oh yeah, make it to the NBA Finals.

Embiid Likely to be Suspended

Although Embiid, his teammates, and all the fans in attendance loved it, this fight from Embiid will eventually come back to bite the 76ers. JoJo will almost certainly receive some sort of suspension from the league, one that will force him to sit out a big road game against the Portland Trail Blazers (3-2) at minimum. 

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports