Joel Embiid’s Hot Road Streak as Sixers Take Down Spurs

NBA: MAY 05 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3 – Celtics at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) looks on during warmups before 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)

Following a disappointing 24-point collapse against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sixers turned their attention to the San Antonio Spurs for tonight’s matchup. This game tipped off down in Texas and was the Sixers’ final road game of the month.

Charlie Brown Jr. was given his second straight start for the Sixers after recently being given a year-long contract. The Saint Joe’s product first was given an opportunity with the Sixers on a 10-day hardship contract when several players were out with Covid. Brown has managed to earn himself a role with his energy and athleticism and has made an impressive impact so far.

First Half

It was a fairly slow start for both teams, with the Sixers climbing out to a slight lead early on. All 8 of the Sixers’ rotational players registered a point in the first quarter which is rare for this team. Philly was able to climb out to a 29-23 lead after the first quarter and keep control from here.

The Sixers shifted into a zone defense early on in the second quarter, which was interesting considering the Spurs were already struggling to shoot the basketball. Throughout the entire first quarter, San Antonio shot just 1-7 (14.3%) from beyond the arc and 9-27 (33.3%) from the field. The Sixers’ offense was fairly effective, and they went into the half leading 59-47.

Joel Embiid had a solid first-half ending with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. While this is a notch below the ridiculously high statistical bar that is set for Embiid, it was impressive the way he was able to orchestrate the Sixers offense. Tobias Harris ended the half with 10 points and 8 rebounds, and Charlie Brown Jr had a stat line for 7 points, 2 steals, and a rebound in the first half.

Second Half

The Sixers picked up where they left off in the second half and managed to hold the Spurs at an arms-length throughout the third quarter. The Spurs won the quarter by a score of 30-27, but the Sixers maintained a 9 point lead heading into the fourth.

Tobias Harris got hot during the stretch he played with the bench unit and provided effective offense for the Sixers. Harris had an answer for each of the Spurs made shots and managed to keep the Sixers lead intact. Tobi ended with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists in the matchup.

It is never completely easy with this team, as the Spurs showed some signs of life late. The Spurs cut the lead to 5 with 6:39 remaining, and it became a 2 point game with under a minute left to play. Joel Embiid took control down the stretch, and some late free throws were able to guide the Sixers to victory.

When the clock finally struck zero, the Sixers secured a victory by a score of 115-109. This advances their record to 27-19 on the year, and they will now return home for a 5 game homestead. The Sixers are currently in 6th place in the East but are firmly in the mix with a great opportunity to climb the standings moving forward.

Overall Thoughts:

Joel Embiid continued to dazzle in this matchup and tallied his 12th straight road game with more than 30 points scored. He ended with 38 points in 31 minutes of play. Embiid also added 12 rebounds and 6 assists and was incredibly impressive in the way he manipulated the Spurs’ defense.

The stretch of games that Joel Embiid has recently put together has been so inspiring. The MVP candidate continues to raise the bar for how great his play is and continues to carry the Sixers into contention. As Joel Embiid moves, the Sixers follow, and this continues to be the case.

Charlie Brown Jr. also put together an effective game for the Sixers. While his finishing around the rim needs improvement, his willingness to cut and the energy he brings has been enough to carve out a role with the Sixers. Brown has also flashed some impressive defensive instincts, and it is clear the Sixers have been missing the skill set he possesses.

Winning the games you are supposed to is just as important as big wins when looking a the grand scheme of things, and that is exactly what happened tonight. The Sixers have struggled a great deal early on this season in tallying bad losses, so this change of tune is a major sign of growth. On Tuesday, the Sixers will return to Philly for a matchup with the Pelicans.

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