Sixers torch Wizards behind Embiid’s 48 in three quarters

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, center, goes up for a shot against Washington Wizards’ Johnny Davis, left, and Mike Muscala during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia 76ers returned to action on Monday evening against the Washington Wizards, looking to extend their winning streak to five games. The Sixers came into this matchup after a double-digit win against the Phoenix Suns. Meanwhile, the Wiz came into this game losers of four of their first five games and their most recent loss to the Miami Heat.

With this game having the makings of a “trap game”, the Sixers withstood an early first-quarter punch from Washington. Wizards’ center Daniel Gafford controlled the paint, blocking 5 shots and scoring 8 points. Philadelphia eventually gained control later in the first led by Tobias Harris and later Joel Embiid.

The second quarter started out with some unexpected offense from newly acquired Nic Batum, who missed the last two games due to personal reasons. He helped spark an Embiid-less run that the 76ers pushed to the lead to double digits. Melton and Harris chipped in and helped push the lead to 17 points at halftime.

When the Sixers opened the second half, Joel Embiid went on an offensive explosion. He took the game over singlehandedly, breaking the spirit of the Wizards players. After every bucket, the opponents’ shoulders just sink more and more. They were looking at each other simply understanding that there was nothing they could do and only try to withstand the onslaught.

It wasn’t much of a game after the third quarter and the Sixers cruised their way to a 146-128 win against the Wiz. Embiid scored 48 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished six assists in 30 minutes of action. The Wizards were paced by Kyle Kuzma (28 points and six rebounds) and Jordan Poole (23 points and 6 assists.

EMVPIID is back

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts after the 76ers won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

After a slow start in the first game of the season, Joel Embiid has lived up to his billing as the reigning MVP. In this matchup with the Wizards, he exploded offensively. He had a modest first half scoring 19 points for the Sixers but returned from halftime like a man possessed. He scored 29 points in 3rd quarter scoring in every way possible. Anything the Wizards tried, didn’t work and it was swish after swish.

We also got to witness the synergy that is growing between Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid. They ran pick and roll after pick and roll with Maxey perfectly dropping in pocket passes all quarter. Embiid finished everything he got from Maxey rewarding him for making the right play. What we watched tonight truly was a special performance and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Mr. Do Something chips in for the Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers’ De’Anthony Melton drives between Milwaukee Bucks’ Jae Crowder and Damian Lillard during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

In this matchup against the Wizards, Joel Embiid dominated but got some help from his fellow Sixers when he needed it in the first half. A few guys chipped in and helped him with the scoring load, most notably De’Anthony Melton, Nic Batum, and Tobias Harris. Harris has been as constant as they come to start the season. He’s been much more engaged and his turn-around jumper has been automatic.

With Tyrese Maxey focusing on facilitation and Kelly Oubre Jr., not having his best scoring night, they needed an extra scoring punch. De’Anthony Melton has had a rough start to the season offensively shooting 29 percent from the floor before this matchup. He knocked down his open threes all night and showed the type of shooter they expect him to be, scoring 14 points. In his debut with Philly, Nic Batum helped pace the bench scoring 11 points and shooting confidently. He looks to already have some chemistry with Embiid, which is really good to see.

Ball movement

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Nick Nurse reacts to a call during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

A lot has been made of Nick Nurse’s new offense which is predicated on ball movement. Even with Embiid scoring 48, the ball still moved around the court leading to 36 assists for the home team. Maxey being the lead facilitator helped pace the ball movement tallying 11 assists. It was Maxey’s second straight game with double-digit assists. The new offense will still have some kinks to work out but if this is any indication of how good they can be, it is a great sign.

The Sixers will take on the Boston Celtics next on Wednesday night. The matchup with the Celtics should be a good early-season test to see where the Sixers are at.