The Sixers have proven to be an interesting team all season. There have been some extreme highs and lows with this team this season, but this could take the cake as their most convincing victory. In an early afternoon matchup in Philly, the Sixers cruised to a 144-114 victory over the 9th seeded Charlotte Hornets. With this 30 point win, Philadelphia teased just how good this team can be when it is clicking on all cylinders.
Tobias Harris Strong Play
There were many early frustrations with Tobias Harris’ fit into the Sixers’ offense following the James Harden trade, but it has been refreshing to find his place. Harris was excellent right from the start and provided the team with the offensive punch they needed. In the first half alone, Tobias scored 16 points on 4 of 7 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. These four made three-pointers tied his most made threes all year.
The Sixers outscored the Hornets 45-27 in the third quarter to blow the game open. Harris ended with 23 points along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. He finished with 9 three-point attempts and converted on 5 of them, which are both season highs for the veteran.
James Harden and Joel Embiid Pick and Roll
The ultimate ceiling for this Sixers team is very reliant on how dominant the duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid can become. There was great excitement surrounding this play in the first few games following the trade, but some growing pains have occurred since.
There has been a tendency for the offense to slip into isolation-heavy sets rather than the fluid movement that was initially seen. The Sixers did an excellent job using the pick-and-roll as the foundation for their offense in the matchup, and James Harden was able to casually pick up 13 assists in this matchup.
One of the biggest concerns heading into the game was the Hornets’ tendency to push the pace and how this would stack up against the Sixers’ 28th-ranked transition defense. Charlotte outscored Philadelphia 25-11 in fastbreak points, but this was not enough to trouble the 76ers.
The 144 points that Philly scored was their largest total all season, and they also tallied a season-high 36 assists. The floodgates opened in the second half, with the Sixers outscoring the Hornets 45-27 in the third quarter. Philly tallied a total of 86 second-half points, which is the largest number they have reached in 51 years.
It is also worth noting that this was likely DeAndre Jordan’s best game since coming to the Sixers. The backup center position has been a major cause of concern for this Sixers team for quite some time, and seeing the signs that he has life left in his legs is very encouraging.
The arguments about Charles Bassey or Paul Reed (who had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and a steal in his 7 minutes of garbage time) receiving time over Jordan certainly hold weight, but it is very clear Doc Rivers has no interest in giving the young players a chance. The one-time all-star played 10 minutes and produced 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He also had some choice words for LaMelo Ball after a rejection early in the game.
With just 5 games left to play in the regular season, the Sixers are close to locking down their playoff seeding. They currently sit in fourth place in the East with a record of 47-30 but are just a half-game out of third and two games out of first. There will be little time to rest on this impressive performance as the Sixers will be back in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow at 6:00.