Takeaways from the Sixers win against the Sacramento Kings

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Maxey Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey (0) reacts past Sacramento Kings’ Sasha Vezenkov (7) after making a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In the fourth consecutive game without Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers would have to put together a collective effort to stop the high-octane offense of Sacramento. The Sixers answered that call and broke their 3-game losing streak in the process.

Man on fire

Tobias Harris gets a lot of criticism for inconsistent play and disappearing for long stretches. That did not happen against the Kings. His season-high 37 points helped the Sixers blow out a good Sacramento Kings team.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris, left, dunks past Sacramento Kings’ Chris Duarte during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

He played like a number one scoring option, demanding the ball and then executing the play. He showed off an array of moves that helped him get to his spots and take quality shots. He scored three 3-pointers, while the majority of his other points came as layups. He showed off spin moves and drop-steps while also dishing off some nice assists to Nicolas Batum for three.

Clearly, Domantas Sabonis could not handle Tobias Harris’s offensive outburst on this night, but Harris was just as effective defensively. Sixers head coach Nick Nurse commended Harris for his effort to slow down the Kings’ All-Star center. The physicality of Sabonis proved to be ineffective against the game’s leading scorer. 

In the fourth quarter, fans at the Wells Fargo Center began chanting Harris’s name. They were encouraging him to try and score 40 points. During the post-game press conference, Harris admitted, “It was fun hearing the crowd chant my name.” About scoring 40, he explained, “I wanted it, but it didn’t happen. I ain’t forcing 40 points.”

The constant double

To try and slow down Tyrese Maxey, opponents have been throwing multiple defenders at him left and right. It’s a pattern that started this season. Sacramento implemented this into their game plan, but it didn’t work out exactly as they had planned. 

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, left, goes up for a shot against Sacramento Kings’ Domantas Sabonis during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

There was one instance where he turned the ball over, being forced toward the sideline, but for most of the game, Maxey was unstoppable driving the lane. His ability to get to the rim and score was the perfect complement to Tobias Harris’s efficient post-up game. 

It was the second quarter where Maxey flexed his offensive game, scoring with acrobatic layups and pull up threes and transition. And if he did beat his initial defender, Sacramento tried to collapse the paint and meet Maxey at the rim. His agility and body control enabled him to counter whatever scheme or effort was used against him.

The play of the night had to be when Maxey drove past Keon Ellis down the middle of the lane, elevated with the ball in his left hand, and was met at the room by Keegan Murray. The ball was then switched to his right hand, mid-air, and Maxey converted one of the most spectacular shots of the year for the Sixers.

Overall, Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey were critical in the win over the Kings. Ideally, Joel Embiid will return to the Sixers’ lineup soon.

Up next for the Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid argues with an official during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

The Sixers’ next game is against the Houston Rockets on MLK Day at the Wells Fargo Center. Tip-off is 1 pm EST.