Sixers Show Toughness in Overtime Victory over Jazz

NBA: MAY 05 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3 – Celtics at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) celebrates after a dunk in the first half during the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers took down the Jazz in an overtime thriller. Joel Embiid proved to be the difference-maker, pouring in 40 points and 19 rebounds.

In an effort that should sink Rudy Gobert’s DPOY campaign, Embiid proved to be counted on for reliable points throughout. He also proved to continue to live rent-free in Donovan Mitchell’s head as he was ejected in the overtime period.

First Half

The Sixers came out of the gates strong and, led by Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, climbed out to an early lead. Their rotations were sharp on the defensive end, and the gameplay looked solid in the opening minutes.

The Jazz responded by going on a 17-4 run to take back control of the lead. Despite the Sixers’ great defense, the Jazz hit several tough shots as the shot-clock expired and ended the first quarter leading 34-26.

The second unit struggled at the start of the second quarter, and the lead stretched to 13 in favor of the Jazz.

Three-point shooting was a major storyline as Furkan Korkmaz knocked down the only Sixers’ three scored in the first half.

Ultimately the Jazz continued to keep the Sixers at an arms distance and went into halftime, leading 61-52. Donovan Mitchell led the team in scoring with 15 points, and Jordan Clarkson also impacted the bench.

The Sixers were led by Joel Embiid, who had 20 points and 7 rebounds in the first half. In total, Simmons, Embiid, and Harris combined for 35 of the team’s 52 first-half points.

Second Half

The Sixers were once again kept at an arms-length for most of the second half as they attempted to battle back from the halftime deficit. They managed to take the 3rd quarter by a margin of 32-28 but still struggled to find any perimeter scoring.

In a pleasant change, the Sixers bench provided a spark to the team and led them on an 11-0 run to regain the lead. Dwight Howard turned back the clock and had a great performance for the team, adding 12 points, 4 rebounds, and a block in his 12 minutes of play.

The Sixers rolled with every punch that the Jazz threw at them and showed the team’s toughness. A ridiculous shot from Joel Embiid pushed the game to overtime, and it was smooth sailing from there for the team.

Sixers Main Takeaways

Joel Embiid deserves to be the MVP. This was Embiid’s fifth game this season with over 40 points and 10 rebounds. To put this into perspective, all other players in the NBA have tallied four of these performances.

Rudy Gobert proved to be no match for Embiid, both overpowering him to the basket and proved to be too skilled with the ball, making him look silly on several occasions. Gobert finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds of his own.

Tobias Harris also was tremendous in this game and stepped it up down the stretch. Tobi ended with 22 points and 10 rebounds and made his final case why he deserved to be in the upcoming all-star game.

While they managed to secure the victory, it is still clear that three-point shooting is still an issue that needs to be addressed. The Sixers ended the game shooting 32% from beyond the arc on 25 shot attempts.

In contrast, the Jazz launched 44 three-pointers and connected at a 47.7% rate. This 57 point gap in three-point scoring needs to be addressed on the Sixers’ end.

This game was a perfect exclamation point to a great first half of the season for the Sixers. They will head into the all-star break at the top of the Eastern Conference with a record of 24-12.

Look for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to perform in the all-star game and for the rest of the team to get some rest as the final roster adjustments begin to occur.