Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and the Philadelphia 76ers faced off against Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes, and the Sacramento Kings on Saturday evening. The Sixers gained another guy back from the injury report as Seth Curry returned after a four-game absence. The Kings were without guards De’Aaron Fox and Terrance Davis for this contest. Sacramento came out with energy, and the Sixers did not match it early on. They forced turnovers and sped the Sixers up on offense. Joel Embiid put the Sixers on his back, and the team fed off his energy. The Sixers won a nail-bitter 103-101 led by Joel Embiid (36 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists). The Kings were led by Tyrese Haliburton (38 points and 7 assists).
Joel Embiid was frustrated early on with the Kings’ double and triple teams, and he actually looked human. They whacked and hacked all evening, with the referees swallowing the whistle in the first half. The coaching staff tried to establish Joel Embiid more in the second half and was able to turn the switch on and get going. Embiid had 12 points going into halftime and ended up with 36. He willed this team to victory on both ends, and every night he seems to do something special.
Fatigue has started to be a topic of discussion for Embiid. His conditioning has been at an all-time high, but with him exerting so much energy on offense and defense, he seems to be really tired. Many are wondering when and if Joel will get a rest game; it seems like he needs it.
The turnover bug, well, more like a monster, contributed to the Sixers’ issues all evening. They had 13 turnovers in the first half leading to 18 points for the Kings. Kings’ double and triple teams on Embiid led to turnovers, as well as guys just being sped up on offense. They are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, but athleticism seems to give the Sixers trouble. The Sixers took care of the ball much better in the second half with only 5 turnovers.
The Sixers and Kings have been involved heavily in trade rumors centering around Ben Simmons. With some of those players suiting up against the Sixers tonight, it seems like they were auditioning for Daryl Morey. Harrison Barnes and Tyrese Haliburton both showed what they could do in a Sixers uniform if they were acquired. Haliburton was outstanding tonight on both sides of the ball and would be a tremendous get if the Sixers traded for him.
The 76ers have Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies coming to town Monday evening at 7:00 PM. The Sixers will seek to get revenge for their early season loss in Memphis.