A convincing win at home against one of the best teams in the NBA right before the All-Star break??? Sounds like just what the doctor ordered for a Philly team battling all sorts of media-infused drama.
The Sixers knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers by a score of 110-103, improving their home record to an absurd 25-2.
On just the first Sixer basket of the night, you could tell what type of night it was going to be for Joel Embiid and the Philly faithful. Embiid grabbed an offensive rebound, flipped in the layup while being fouled, and began playing it up to the crowd.
Embiid would go on to have a monster game against the undersized LA squad. With Horford going to the bench for the first time as a Sixer, Embiid had acres of room to operate down low. He finished the game with 26 points and 9 rebounds.
However, it would be one of Philly’s other stars who stole the show in the first quarter. Tobias Harris, while playing his former team, came out a man on a mission. He scored 11 of the Sixers’ 33 first-quarter points, including a vicious posterization dunk. Harris finished the night with 17 points and 12 boards.
The majority of the 2nd and 3rd quarters were paced by the incredible play of Philadelphia’s two All-Stars: Embiid and Ben Simmons. The two frequently teamed up on pretty post-up screens, resulting in a ton of easy baskets for both members involved.
Simmons finished the game with a 26 point triple-double, his second triple-double in a row. Simmons became just the second-ever Sixer to have multiple consecutive triple-doubles (Wilt Chamberlain being the other).
The 4th quarter was reserved for the now very healthy Josh Richardson. After missing a few weeks due to a hamstring injury, JRich was in full force tonight. He poured in 17 points in the 4th quarter alone, finishing the game with 21. He knocked in three triples as well, proving time and time again that he’s one of the more clutch players on the teams.
Some good buckets from Richardson and a wicked block by Embiid all but sealed the game in the final few minutes. The Sixers sent the Clippers packing as Philly enjoys a three-game win streak heading into the break.
Sixth Man Al Horford?
Fans had been begging the Sixers to try running Al Horford on the bench for months now. After what felt like forever, Brett Brown finally pulled the trigger. Horford was moved to the sixth man spot and Furkan Korkmaz started in his place.
The change was noticeably positive. As mentioned previously, there was tons of space for Embiid and Simmons to operate. The Sixers dominated the Clippers down low, outscoring them by 20 points in the paint. Horford himself also looked better running with the bench unit, scoring 9 points on 4 shots while recording a +/- of +10.
This is a change I expect the Sixers to roll with for awhile.
Ben Simmons: Underrated?
Ben Simmons was a menace on the court today. He recorded 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. He led the team in shot attempts with 22 and guarded Kawhi Leonard for the majority of the night. Leonard was held to just 5 points in the 4th quarter. Not only was Simmons the best Sixer on the court, but he was the best overall player on the court.
TNT commentator Stan Van Gundy made a point of acknowledging Simmons as one of the most underrated stars in the NBA during the broadcast. SVG even said Simmons should be mentioned right up there with Kawhi and Paul George as one of the best two-way players in the league.
JoJo’s Having Fun Again
“I stand with my city, I love my city”. That was what Joel Embiid had to say following the team’s impressive win on Tuesday night. Embiid scored a lot of points, talked a lot of trash, got a technical foul, and ultimately led the team to a big-time win. Getting Embiid back to having fun again is just a huge positive all around for this Sixers team.
The Sixers will be off for the next 8 days as the All-Star break will be underway. Simmons and Embiid will be participating in the festivities, but everyone else gets some much needed time off. The team resumes play next Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports