On Tuesday night, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers faced off against the shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans team in need of a win. The Pelicans were without Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Josh Hart, and Devante Graham. The Sixers were down a few key rotation guys as well, including Danny Green, Seth Curry, and Shake Milton.
The home team came out sloppy in this one but was able to fight back to get a victory on their home court. The Sixers won 117-107 behind dominating performance from Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. New Orleans was led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker (31 points) and Willy Hernangomez. (29 points).
Joel Embiid has elevated himself into a legitimate MVP candidate over the last month and a half, but during this game, he looked like a mere mortal early on. Embiid ended the first half with 18 points but looked a step slow while doing it. Maybe he is suffering from some fatigue due to everything he has to do to keep the Sixers in games. His defense was almost non-existent, allowing Willy Hernengomez to get 21 points in the first half.
In the second half, he looked like his normal self trying to will his team to victory. He was much more active on the defensive end and quarterbacking the offense. He ended the night with 42 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks.
Harris Deserves Some Praise
With Tobias having an up and down season and recently being mentioned in trade rumors, you can tell his focus has been off. Tonight, he was magnificent against the Pelicans ending the night with 33 points and 11 rebounds. He helped keep the scoring going for the home team when Embiid was on the bench. When Harris plays badly, he gets all sorts of criticism. He played well tonight and deserves some praise.
Effort Against Shorthanded Teams
This season the Sixers have picked up the reputation for playing terribly against teams who are shorthanded. Their energy, effort, and sense of urgency just aren’t there. Maybe they look at who is available on the other side of the court and just lose focus, but it has come back to bite them many times. They have lost to the Heat, Hawks, Nets, and Clippers when they were all shorthanded. Luckily, they were able to escape with a victory tonight.
The Sixers will face off against the Los Angeles Lakers next on Thursday at The Center.