Coming into tonight with a 2-1 record on their road trip, the 76ers knew that a win here would send them back to the top of the Eastern Conference. Big games call for big players and Joel Embiid stepped up to the plate against the 29-24 Dallas Mavericks, making light work of Luka Doncic and rocketing the Sixers back to the top of the East.
As is always the case when these two teams clash, all eyes were on the stars. There was only ever going to be one winner in this version of King Kong vs Godzilla though, with Embiid rallying to 36 points, 7 rebounds, and a pair of assists. Luka Doncic led the way for the Mavs, but his spirited 32-point effort wasn’t enough to keep up with a Sixers team that once again started to look efficient from range.
The Mavericks tried all they good to slow Embiid down . There was a never-ending rotation of centres lining up against him and all of them were met with the same fate. Maxi Kleber, Bobi, and Willie Cauley-Stein all tried and failed to thwart the frankly stunning game Embiid was having. While the bench was gassing up the Cameroonian and pushing him to break 40, the truth is he didn’t even have to.
The 76ers very quickly ran away with this one, allowing for more Furky time. Furkan Korkmaz delighted fans in place of Tobias Harris last time out against OKC and saw 18 minutes of action tonight. He made the most of his opportunity again, posting up 20 points and draining a quartet of 3-point attempts, helping the Sixers extend their already comfortable lead.
A round of applause needs to also be dealt to Matisse Thybulle, whose offensive evolution continues to leave the world purring. Best known for his dominant defense, Thybulle flashed some impressive range on a gorgeous 3-point shot and added 4 assists to his tally. His ball movement was impressive and we’ve started to see the rise of a very fun young two-way player that is able to not only help shut down opposing teams on the wing, but create opportunities for his teammates at the other end of the court.
Joel Embiid made his Í’m back’ statement to his fellow MVP candidates tonight, but the team supported him in the best way possible. Sure, Ben Simmons was unable to hold Doncic to a lowly game, but who is? It’s great seeing Embiid put up 50 and dominate in a game that runs down to the wire, but with the playoffs looming and fatigue always being on the minds of fans everywhere, it’s even more fun seeing what damage he can do in three quarters, knowing fully well that he can put his feet up and let the bench take care of business in the closing stanza. This was a clash that could not have gone any better for Doc Rivers and his band of conference-toppers.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire